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Bibb student, 5, dies after being hit by school bus

MACON, Ga. (MCT) -- A 5-year-old girl died Monday evening after being hit by a Bibb County school bus earlier in the day.

Tamiya Watson was hit just after 4 p.m. as she crossed Virginia Drive near her Bloomfield Road home.

The Barden Elementary kindergartner was pronounced dead at 7:12 p.m. in an operating room at The Medical Center of Central Georgia, said Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones.

A family friend, Shonetta Jackson, struggled with the news of the accident. She was picking up her own children when she saw the aftermath.

"You send your kids and they have a good day at school," she said, then paused. "And then something like this happens."

Macon police said the girl was struck by the rear tire of the bus. According to Sgt. Melanie Hoffman, witnesses reported that Tamiya, who lived on Bloomfield Road, ran off the curb and was turned around talking to others behind her when she walked into the side of bus. The bus was making a left hand turn onto Virginia Drive off of Bloomfield Road when Tamiya collided with the bus. Tamiya fell to the ground after colliding with the side of the bus. The rear tire of the bus ran over the lower torso of Tamiya. The case is still under investigation.

Stephanie Hartley, a Bibb County schools spokeswoman, said family members and staff from the school and school district went to the Medical Center.

"Members of the district's crisis support team will be at Barden Elementary Tuesday morning to provide support for students and staff as needed," Hartley said.

Jackson said her own 6-year-old and 8-year-old boys love to play with Tamiya, who lived around the corner from them.

"She's a feisty little kid, full of spunk, so I was telling the kids, she's strong, she's going to be OK," she said hours before news of the child's death was announced.

Jackson said she moved Tamiya's books out of the way so she could hold the girl's hand.

"She just kept telling me she wanted to get up, and I told her, 'no baby, you got to stay down,' " Jackson said.

Jackson's youngest child went to a baseball game with their father to try to keep their routine. Their youngest boy is in a Barden Elementary kindergarten class with Tamiya.

"My 6-year-old boy said he was going to hit a home run for her yet," Jackson said.