ATCO, N.J. - Candice Bock watched in horror Monday as a school bus struck and killed her 6-year-old son.
Authorities said Edmond Bock was struck shortly before 8:30 a.m. By 9:15, hospital doctors had pronounced him dead.
"I saw the whole thing," she said. "I watched my son get hit, and the driver just kept going."
The driver, whose name authorities have not released, has not been charged. But an investigation is under way, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.
Edmond's death is "a great tragedy ... that breaks the heart of every parent and staff member of Waterford Township," Waterford Schools Superintendent Newlin Schoener said.
The driver was a substitute with 25 years of experience, he said.
"As of right now we are treating this as a tragic accident," said Manager Dan Hillman of Hillman's Bus Service in West Berlin, N.J.
Authorities issued few details.
"It appears while the bus was stopped to pick up children, the victim began walking around the front of the bus," the Camden County Prosecutor's Office said Monday afternoon. "When the vehicle began moving forward again, it struck the child."
Edmond Bock IV
A school bus in southwest New Jersey struck and killed Edmond Bock IV, 6, on Jan. 6, 2014.(Photo: Courtesy of the Bock family)
Candice Bock, standing outside her home about 15 miles southeast of Camden, N.J., not far from the accident site, said the driver's side front tire hit her son and the vehicle's safety arm was out.
She said Edmond yelled, "Wait! Wait!" as he was run over.
"I just don't understand why the driver didn't stop," she said. "He just kept driving and dragged my son down the street."
Deaths of children on or near school buses are relatively rare, according to the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. Each year about 800 school-aged children are killed in motor vehicle crashes during normal school travel hours. Of those, about 20 - five passengers and 15 pedestrians - die in school-bus related accidents.
About half of those pedestrians killed in school-related transportation accidents were between the ages of 5 and 7, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Edmond's father, who has the same name as his son, was visibly shaken Monday. But he remembered a "happy" and "lively" child.
The spiky-haired Edmond turned 6 in September.
"He would always say 'I love you' and give you a big hug," said Edmond Bock III, who also has a 4-year-old son. "I keep thinking he is going to come walking in the front door. It's heartbreaking."
The boy's father encouraged families to hug their children.
"You never know," he said. "I'm glad I at least got to say 'I love you' one last time."
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