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Semi hits teen getting off school bus in Texas, driver charged with homicide

A truck driver has been arrested on a homicide charge after an 18-wheeler struck and killed a 15-year-old boy Thursday afternoon. The teen had just stepped off his school bus onto an eastern Texas highway when the crash happened.

The Texas Department of Public Safety told USA TODAY the fatal crash took place about 4:15 p.m on U.S. Highway 59 just north of Livingston.

The town is in Polk County about 70 miles northeast of Houston.

According to a preliminary crash investigation from the department, a Livingston Independent School District bus was stopped northbound in the outside lane with its flashing red lights and stop sign extended to offload a student.

Law enforcement in Texas are investigating after a 15-year-old boy was fatally struck by an 18-wheeler after stepping off his school bus along a highway on December 7, 2023. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the fatal crash took place on U.S. Highway 59 just north of Livingston.
Law enforcement in Texas are investigating after a 15-year-old boy was fatally struck by an 18-wheeler after stepping off his school bus along a highway on December 7, 2023. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the fatal crash took place on U.S. Highway 59 just north of Livingston.

Behind the bus, police said, a 28-year-old woman sat behind the wheel of a Toyota car. According to investigators, a semi traveling north along the highway hit the rear of the car and then veered right, when the it then hit the boy in a driveway.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, police reported.

Neither the driver of the Toyota, identified as a Lufkin resident, nor the semi driver, were injured.

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Truck driver charged with homicide

The truck driver, identified as 41-year-old Gregory Jackson of Texarkana, was arrested on a felony criminal negligent homicide charge and taken to the Polk County Jail.

Polk County Sheriff's Office jail records show Jackson remained jailed on $250,000 bond Friday.

It was not immediately known if Jackson had obtained an attorney.

As of Friday, police said the crash remained under investigation.

Law enforcement in Texas are investigating after a 15-year-old boy was fatally struck by an 18-wheeler after stepping off his school bus along a highway on December 7, 2023. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the fatal crash took place on U.S. Highway 59 just north of Livingston.
Law enforcement in Texas are investigating after a 15-year-old boy was fatally struck by an 18-wheeler after stepping off his school bus along a highway on December 7, 2023. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the fatal crash took place on U.S. Highway 59 just north of Livingston.

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'How fragile each life is'

According to the Livingston Independent School District's Facebook page, the school community was grieving Friday.

"At times like this, we are reminded how precious life can be and how fragile each life truly is," the district posted. "It is sad when our district loses a member of its family... We extend our thoughts and sincere condolences to family and friends."

District officials wrote counselors would be on hand Friday morning for students and staff.

Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on X @nataliealund.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Teen killed by semi after stepping off school bus in Livingston, Texas