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Crime Scene
Posted at 01:21 PM ET, 09/21/2012

Police: Fairfax County school bus driver struck, killed pedestrian

A Fairfax County school bus struck and killed a pedestrian Thursday at an Annandale intersection, police said Friday.

The 40-year-old driver Cristina Fernandez, of Centreville, is facing a misdemeanor charge of failing to pay attention in connection with the death of 89-year-old Joon Seok Ahn of Annandale. The charge carries a maximum penalty of $30.

The school bus was stopped in the southbound turn lane of Gallows Road near the intersection of Columbia Pike around 2:30 p.m., Fairfax County police said. As the bus began pulling forward, it struck Ahn, who had entered a crosswalk.

Fairfax County school officials said there were about a dozen students from Falls Church High School on board the bus at the time of the crash. The bus was delivering them home from school for the day.

Ahn was transported to a local hospital, where he later died, police said.

Speed and alcohol are not considered factors in the crash and the investigation is continuing, police said.

Fernandez has been a school bus driver for 11 years and had an “excellent” record, said John Torre, a spokesman for the Fairfax County public schools. She has been removed from her route, pending the completion of the police investigation.

Fernandez could not be reached by phone Friday and no one answered the door at her house. Ahn’s family also could not be reached.

Torre said the Falls Church High principal has reached out to each student who was on the bus to see if they needed help dealing with the accident.

Torre said such incidents are rare in Fairfax County. The last fatality involving a school bus occurred in 2007, when a bus struck and killed a pedestrian in the Tysons area, he said.

Fairfax County transports more than 100,000 children each day on about 1,500 buses, Torre said. The buses travel about 17.5 million miles each year.

“It was a very tragic and unfortunate event,” Torre said. “ I would say that overall our drivers do have excellent safety records.”

This Post has been updated.

By  |  01:21 PM ET, 09/21/2012

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