Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET: An elementary student was killed when a school bus hit her in a rural area west of Hot Springs, Ark., on Friday morning, officials said.
The Lake Hamilton School District, based in Pearcy, Ark., confirmed the incident on its website's home page, with a statement: "The Lake Hamilton School community is deeply saddened this morning by the tragic fatality of one of our students involved in a school bus accident. We grieve with the student’s family at this extremely difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with them."
The accident happened near 3300 Old Dallas Road in Garland County at approximately 6:28 a.m. CT, according to Little Rock's NBC-affiliate KARK 4. The 7-year-old girl was a second-grade student at Lake Hamilton Elementary School, school district Superintendent Steve Anderson confirmed in a news conference Friday afternoon.
"Words can't express the extent of the sorrow felt by this community," he said, according to KARK 4.
Four other students were on the bus at the time, Anderson said, and counselors were available on campus.
The accident occurred in a rural area with little traffic near the girl's normal bus stop, according to Anderson. Garland County Sheriff's Department Deputy A.J. Tart said at the news conference that at the time of the accident the headlights from the bus were likely the only light on the road.
The driver's identity has not been released, but Anderson said the driver is "distraught" and knew the girl and her family personally. The driver has been employed with the school district for five years.
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