PEARCY (KTHV) - As we continue to cover a tragic day in Garland County, Today's THV hears community reaction from Pearcy where a 7-year-old girl was struck and killed this morning by the bus she takes to school every day.
Everyone is still absorbing the heart-breaking loss of second grader Hannah Martin from Pearcy. It's a small town in Garland County about 16 miles west of Hot Springs and news of her death spread fast.
Life-long Pearcy resident Mina Horne owns the local hair salon. It's a place crawling with the talk of the town, and on Friday, it was tough to swallow.
"They were just in shock, everybody I talked to just couldn't believe that could happen," Horne said.
Horne says, early on, the stories coming into her salon varied about a Lake Hamilton School District student struck and killed by her bus driver.
"Nobody knew at the time who it was, nobody seemed to know any names," Horne said.
But by day's end, authorities revealed 7-year-old Hannah Martin died in the accident. It took place at a bus stop intersection at Old Dallas Road and Meyers Creek Road around 6:30 Friday morning. Authorities are still investigating what went wrong but say dark conditions may be a factor.
"This is a tragic accident that's rocked this community and words can't express the extent of sorrow felt by the school and this community," Superintendent Steve Anderson said.
Lake Hamilton School Superintendent Steve Anderson said it turns out the driver of the bus knew the girl and her family well.
"His granddaughter and she were friends, she was at his house just a couple days ago," Anderson said.
It's making this all even more difficult for this town to absorb.
"I heard he just fell to the ground and just poured out I guess, he was very hurt over it," Horne said.
It was a tough day for both sides involved in this accident but Horne says the town of Pearcy won't let them grieve alone.
"Like if there's a fire or just anything, something like this, everyone just pulls together and just does what they can," Horne said.
We also talked to two neighbors off-camera Friday. One of them told us that he came across the accident on his way to school this morning and authorities were turning people around. And another woman told us that her last memory of Hannah was last week, seeing her get off the bus and run to her brother for a hug.
As for the bus driver, we're told the district has put him on paid leave. The superintendent added, that in the driver's five years with the district, he never had an accident before.
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