Man charged with hit-and-run in school bus stop accident

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The North Carolina Highway Patrol took Marcos Santiaga Bautista, of Sims, into custody. (WTVD/Courtesy: Wilson County Sheriff's Office)

Two Wilson County students were hit by a SUV as they tried to get on their school bus Thursday morning.

The alleged hit-and-run accident happened around 7 a.m. at Rock Ridge Sims Road and Old Raleigh Road west of Interstate 95. German Arroyo-Correa, 10, and Areli Arroyo-Correa, 5, reportedly suffered broken bones and were hospitalized in serious condition. Neighbors said they are a brother and sister.

"My brother heard the mom screaming and yelling for help, so he got out, and he saw that the bus was there and the kids, they had run them over," said Laura Lopez.

Officials said the bus headed to Rock Ridge Elementary School was stopped with its lights on and stop arm extended when it happened.

The red Ford Explorer that allegedly hit the children was found about a half-mile away behind a tobacco barn at a working farm. The North Carolina Highway Patrol took Marcos Santiaga Bautista, 27, of Sims, into custody. He's charged with felony hit and run, felony passing a stopped school bus, having no driver's license, no vehicle registration, and having a fake tag. Bond was initially set at $30,000.

Troopers said Friday they have confirmed he is a fugitive with an outstanding deportation warrant. Bautista, who is a native of Mexico, failed to show up for a Non-Detention Immigration Hearing in South Carolina.

His bond was increased to $1,002,000.

It's the third time in two weeks that a child has been hit at a bus stop in the Triangle region.

On Sept. 23, 13-year-old Keith Jones Jr. was killed by a car as he waited for his bus near Wendell.

Earlier this week, 11-year-old Michael Burgess Jr. was seriously hurt in the Apex/Holly Springs area when a 16-year-old driver allegedly passed a stopped school bus.

Lt. Jeff Gordon with the North Carolina Highway Patrol said the high number of accidents in the Triangle involving children waiting at bus stops should be an alert for both parents and drivers.

"One thing that you need to do as a parent, sit down with your children, especially if they ride the school bus and are waiting to get on the school bus," said Gordon. "Tell them about the dangers that are out there. Tell them about what you need to do as a child or as a passenger. Even if the school bus stops, the stop arms out,the emergency equipment is activated, does not necessarily mean that the traffic that's approaching both from the front and the rear is going to stop, so tell your kids to look before they cross the road."

Drivers especially need to be on the lookout for school buses and obey the law that says you must stop if the red lights are on and the stop arm is extended.

"The school buses are big. They're yellow, and they're there for a reason, and that reason is simple and that's to pick kids up and drop them off. So if you see one, they're going to stop eventually, so don't try to beat the bus stop," Gordon offered.

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