9-year-old Florida boy killed after crawling under moving school bus

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9-year-old Florida boy killed after crawling under moving school bus

A 9-year-old Florida boy died after he crawled under a moving school bus that had just dropped him off at his stop.

The Orange County Public Schools bus was stopped at a roundabout Tuesday when Elyas Marshall Rodriguez, 9, got off, the Florida Highway Patrol said in a news release. The bus driver had begun driving again to continue through the roundabout after Elyas had gotten off, according to the highway patrol.

As the driver was pulling away, Elyas, of Orlando, “ran back” and “crawled underneath” the bus, the release said. The rear tire “collided” with the boy, killing him, the highway patrol said.

bus accident death
Elyas Marshall Rodriguez.WESH

The Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the manner of death an accident and the cause of death cranial-cerebral trauma.

The highway patrol said the incident is still a “very active traffic homicide investigation.” The 54-year-old driver, who has not been publicly identified, remained at the scene, the highway patrol said.

A spokesperson for the highway patrol told NBC affiliate WESH that the agency is still working to figure out why the boy crawled under the bus.

Elyas was a student at Lawton Chiles Elementary School.

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic death of one of our precious students who was involved in a bus accident late this afternoon,” schools Superintendent Maria Vazquez said in a statement Tuesday. “To lose a child so suddenly and tragically is extremely difficult especially for family and friends.”

Vazquez said counselors will be available at district schools for students and staff members in need. She said the district is cooperating with the highway patrol investigation.

Elyas’ cousin told WESH that the boy was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 2 years old and that he was in remission at the time of the accident. Elyas had just gotten his chemotherapy port taken out last year, Trenae Gayle said.

“He went through the Make-A-Wish Foundation because of how severe it was. So he had already been through a lot in his life,” Gayle told WESH.

Gayle said Elyas’ mom knew something was wrong when he didn’t arrive home after the school day, so she went to look for him at the nearby playground and saw the fallout of the crash.

“This was a senseless tragedy,” Gayle told WESH. “She’ll always have to deal with this pain.”

Antonio Planas

Antonio Planas is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital. 

Rebecca Cohen

Rebecca Cohen is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

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