Police: Girl killed by bus was confused about direction home

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KIRYAS JOEL -

Police say the 6-year-old girl struck and killed by a school bus in Kiryas Joel was confused about the direction to her home.

The Kiryas Joel school bus let seven kids off around 11:30 a.m. Friday. One of those children was 6-year-old Leah Mezzi. State police say Mezzi had just moved from Brooklyn and was confused about which way to go home. Mezzi realized she was walking in the wrong direction and turned and crossed in front of the bus. She was then struck by her own driver.

Witnesses reported seeing the girl fall after she was hit and screaming for the driver to stop before he unknowingly struck the child again.

Mezzi reportedly went to private school at United Talmudical Academy in Kiryas Joel. District officials say grief counseling is being offered to classmates and staff.

Neighbors in the private religious community didn't want to be shown on camera but said they knew Mezzi and are heartbroken for her family.

State police have interviewed dozens of witnesses and are now looking at surveillance video. So far, they say the incident appears to be a tragic accident and do not expect to file charges against the driver.

The Kiryas Joel school district says the bus driver submitted to drug and alcohol testing and has been taken off the road during the investigation.

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