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First grader struck and killed by bus on Columbus' east side

Columbus Police are still investigating what happened when a child darted out in front of a school bus and was killed Thursday morning on Columbus's east side.

The Scottwood Elementary School flag was already at half staff in observation of President Gerald Ford's death. But the symbol of mourning took on additional meaning after a six-year-old was struck and killed by a school bus in front of the school. First grader Asa Mayle, whose bus stop was in front of Scottwood, attended Maybury Elementary. Columbus Police Sergeant Kevin Corcoran said Mayle was in his grandmother's car when he spotted the bus.

"The young boy saw the school bus coming so he jumped out of the car and crossed the street in front of the school bus. The school bus ended up striking the young boy," Corcoran said. Mayle was taken to Children's Hospital where he died around 9 a.m. Columbus Public Schools spokesman Michael Straughter said Lolitta Leavell was the driver of the bus. He said Leavell has been employed with the system since 2003 and has been driving buses for a year. Straughter said the driver is on paid leave and will undergo a customary toxology screening.

"I'm sure that she is very, very troubled at this particular point. She loves driving. It's a sad day all the way around," Straughter said. Leavell was interviewed after the accident. But police have not released her statement.

"We're not sure if the driver was able to see him. Or if they did see him if they were just unable to stop in time," Straughter said.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol, which inspects school buses twice a year, examined the bus that struck the six-year-old. State trooper Joel Smith said the bus's brakes appeared fine. Grief counselors will be at both schools.