Teen hit, killed at Rowan County bus stop

Victim of deadly crash, Makinzy Smith (L) & driver charged for the death, Barbara Harrison Smith (R)


by WCNC.com Staff


Posted on October 17, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 23 at 7:29 AM

SALISBURY, N.C. -- A 17-year-old West Rowan High School student about to get on his school bus was hit and killed by a driver who blew through the extended stop arm and flashing lights, investigators said.

Makinzy Jordan Smith of Woodleaf died shortly after being hit around 6:30 Thursday morning on Woodleaf Road, near the intersection of Godbey Road.

The driver, 57-year-old Barbara Harrison Smith, no relation, is charged with felony passing a stopped school bus. She posted a $1,000 bond and got out of jail Thursday afternoon.

A witness says Smith never hit the brakes. That witness tried to revive Smith with CPR.

"I'm still shaking about it because I don't know if there was anything else I could have done," the witness said.

Twenty students already on the bus witnessed the accident and have mandatory counseling sessions to deal with what they saw.

Ten counselors helped other friends and classmates like Emilio Cornejo, who learned about the tragedy at school.

"It just hit me, finding out was like a shock, so surreal," Cornejo said. "He was more like a brother because I've known him for so long."

"Good kid, always smiling, always happy.  He was in our junior ROTC program," said Dr. Jamie Durant, principal.

Durant says the impact of Smith's death is something the school will have to watch for weeks.

"I think when students realize that there's an empty desk in the classroom, or a few weeks down the road and they don't see that particular student where they would normally see him."

Tears for Smith were not only shed by friends, family and classmates, but by investigators working the accident site.

"Grown men that are supposed to be made of steel crying or standing there with tears streaming down their faces, handkerchiefs out," said Karen Smith.

There were also tears shed at the Rowan County Jail when Barbara Smith bonded out and walked away crying, saying, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.'"

Smith is due in court next week.

School officials say the bus driver did nothing wrong, and this tragedy should serve as a reminder for drivers to pay attention to school buses and for students to look both ways.