Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Rochester

Vehicle Strikes Six Students on Their Way to School

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Rochester: Vehicle Strikes Six Students on Their Way to School
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Rochester Police say Mark A. Heeks, 24, was driving a car with Arkansas plates, heading northwest on Broadway around 8:45 a.m. Friday morning when he lost control of the car.

Police charged Heeks with driving while ability impaired by drugs, vehicular assault, and reckless assault. According to court paperwork, Heeks was high on heroin which he had just used before the incident.

Police say the car jumped the curb, went through a fence and hit several students who were on the sidewalk making their way to the School Without Walls.

Police say six high school students were injured. Three were taken to the hospital with significant injuries, three others also went with less serious injuries. None of the injuries is considered life threatening.

Heeks was also taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

Police are now looking at video from red-light cameras at the intersection and talking to witnesses to try and determine why geeks went off the road.

"We don't have any indication of any medical condition for the driver," said Lt. Charles Gorman, Rochester Police Department. "We sent traffic cars and drug recognition experts to the hospital and they're still doing their thing up at the hospital. That could be part of the ongoing investigation."

School Principal Dr. Idonia Owens said School Without Walls is a small school where everyone knows each other. There are only about 260 students in grades 9-12.

She says parents were immediately notified of what had happened.

"It was a very traumatizing thing that happened. Our students took care of each other. They were a few who were on the scene. There was a group of about 20 students on their way in. They came in and let us know what happened. We notified our nurse and school counselor and the academy director and everyone else sprang into action, our school safety officer. The teachers went the injured students in an ambulance."

Extra counselors were also brought in and a few students left school early, like ninth-grader Tianna Spivey who was so upset, she went home with her mother.

"We were in there and they started talking about how this car came in and crashed into the girl and how six students got hit and how they had to go to the hospital. I just started crying and I just wanted to go home," said Spivey.

Principal Owens hopes to welcome at least some of the students back to school next week.

The police investigation continues.

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