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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, a Chapel Hill ISD school bus was involved in an accident at around 3:30 on Tuesday afternoon.
18-month-old Aria Liz Préciado was killed in the accident, said Justice of the Peace Mitch Shamburger
Witnesses say the little girl somehow got out of the gate in her front yard and walked out in front of the bus while it was unloading passengers.
Bystanders began banging on the side of the bus in an attempt to warn the driver.
"I heard a bunch of commotion, loud screaming and banging," says Teree Loveless, one of the Préciado's neighbors.
Officials say the driver must not have heard the warnings and pulled forward, striking the child and killing her.
"A little boy was saying "the little girl got hit the little girl got hit" and the dad was saying no it was a puppy because he was just devastated," Loveless says.
According to DPS Trooper Jean Dark, the driver was unaware that the bus hit the child. The bus stopped around 75 feet from where the toddler was hit.
"Bus drivers need to be careful,as well as the children and parents because what becomes mundane and this is way we do it every day can all of a sudden turn into a tragedy," Shamburger says.
The accident occurred at the intersection of Pearl Street and Gallion Avenue in Tyler.
Juan Jacquez says his 6-year-old daughter was on the bus when the accident happened. She told her dad the bus monitor said they ran over a dog.
"The lady was telling me, "hey it was a young girl a little baby that got ran over," and I told her well no, you know, they told my daughter, she was on the bus, it was a dog, they said no it wasn't a dog it was a baby," Jacquez says.
Neighbors say at first the mother did not know what happened because she could not see her daughter from the other side of the street. One witness says he hopes Tuesday's incident makes bus drivers slow down.
"School buses in this area need to slow down a lot more than what they're doing right now because there are a lot of kids in the neighborhood and this could happen again," says Josh Burks, who lives in the neighborhood where the incident happened.
Officials say the incident is still under investigation and they will wait until they have compiled all of the information from the scene before filing any charges.