The 10-year-old boy killed by a school bus Monday afternoon was a cancer survivor, according to a family member.
Jonathan A. Chatham of the Rockholds community was one of four children who got off the bus at a Whitley County stop on Ky. 779 about 4:20 p.m., and he was "somehow" struck as the bus driver began to move forward, police said. Jonathan died at the scene, according to Kentucky State Police.
Jonathan had "beat cancer, but the Lord decided to take him," his grandmother Barbara McMahan said in a public Facebook post.
"He was so courageous with his cancer," McMahan said in a later post. "We are all devastated."
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Along with other relatives, the boy's father witnessed the accident. "He literally watched his son pass," McMahan said. "I don't think you get over this sort of thing."
The bus, owned by Whitley County Public Schools, was driven by Amanda Woliver, 33, of Williamsburg, state police said.
Woliver stopped the bus and let the four students off, state police said. When Woliver began to drive away, the bus "somehow struck" Jonathan, according to state police at the London post.
No charges have been filed against Woliver. Police said alcohol or drug use was not suspected.
Trooper Lloyd Cochran, public affairs officer at the London post, said Tuesday morning that the investigation was continuing. Authorities don't know yet how the accident happened, he said.
The Times Tribune newspaper quoted Whitley County Schools Superintendent Scott Paul as saying the boy stepped off the bus, walked up an embankment, then turned back into the path of the bus as it moved away.
Paul could not be reached Tuesday. An attendant who answered the phone at the school system's central office said Paul and other district officials would spend the day visiting Whitley North Elementary School, which Jonathan attended, meeting with parents and working with police.
Modern school buses often have systems of mirrors to help the driver see small children who might be walking directly in front of the vehicle. Cochran said Tuesday morning that he didn't know whether the 1999 International that Woliver was driving had such mirrors.
The bus stop was at Jonathan's grandparents' home in the Browns Creek community, about nine miles east of Williamsburg, Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell said Monday.
Harrell said about 20 students were on board at the time.
The driver had to be taken to the hospital because "she was beside herself," Harrell said.