VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - The driver police say swerved around a school bus and hit three children and an adult Thursday morning has been charged with DUI, reckless driving and maiming.
According to police, the school bus was stopped at the corner of Chester Street and Paladin Drive around 7:40 a.m. when a blue truck, driven by Sandra Hofstadler, 43, passed the bus then veered into a yard where a father and three young children were walking down the driveway.
Police said the school bus driver had her lights activated and stop sign out when the woman drove around the bus. This falls under reckless driving when a driver disregards a school bus signal.
This is Hofstadler's second DUI offense, according to investigators.
Shoes, clothes and book bags were spread throughout the yard after the accident.
Ceclia Ruiz was putting her daughter on the bus at the time and saw the accident's aftermath.
"I saw two of the kids laying on the ground and the father [and] the other little girl hurt in shock, just running around," Ruiz said.
All four people were taken to the hospital. Two of the victims, a 7-year-old girl and the adult, received non life-threatening injuries. The 5-year-old victim is in critical condition and a second 7-year-old victim is in stable condition, according to officer Jimmy Barnes.
According to Eileen Cox with Virginia Beach City Public Schools, the school bus on the scene was heading to Lynnhaven Elementary School and was not involved in the accident.
The children hit by the truck attend Lynnhaven Elementary and the school has counselors on hand.
Hofstadler's mother, Karen Wilson, said her daughter smoked in the garage and then left their home just before 7 a.m. Wilson added that she has no idea why Hofstadler was in the neighborhood.
"She took my trash out this morning and left at 10 [minutes] to seven or something like that...I don't know where she was going," Wilson said.
Neighbors said the truck driver appeared to be extremely intoxicated.
"The woman that hit him, she was trying to go. And my neighbor Mo next door, he got the car keys from her, stopped her from going further. And his wife gave the little boy mouth-to-mouth to try to save him," said neighbor Jackie Rosa.
Witness Rob Osmunson told WAVY.com he overheard the truck driver tell police she was on Xanax and Adderall and that she was seeing things. Xanax is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders and Adderall is most commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to drugs.com.
Wilson says what witnesses heard is true and added her daughter has struggled with substance abuse for years.
"This is more than a wake up call, this is truly more. I don't know if I will get to see her again. I probably won't live that long," Willson said.
As of Thursday night, family told 10 On Your Side a five-year-old boy is in critical condition, the father and his niece are in stable condition, and his daughter has been released from the hospital. According to family, none of the injuries are life threatening.
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