MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - An 11-year-old girl was hit by a car after stepping off a school bus Friday afternoon. Now, police are investigating the driver's sobriety and the bus' use of its stop arm.
Shianne Dean is in critical condition, but after two surgeries, her family says the swelling has gone down on her brain as they continue to pray for her full recovery.
"She's really a fun-loving little girl, always happy, dancing, moving around, smiling," said Latonya Williams, the girl's mother. "My baby can't do any of that right now."
Dean's family described how full of life their little girl normally is, until it all changed in an instant Friday afternoon.
"Shianne went across the street and, I guess, he came from around the bus and struck and hit her," Dean said about the crash. "When he hit her, she flew up in the air and came back down and my baby hadn't talked since. She hasn't opened her eyes since."
Dean was exiting the school bus near her home on Penn Avenue North and 23rd Street in Minneapolis just before 5 p.m. Friday when police say she was hit by a driver, who was later arrested for driving under the influence.
There was also another contributing factor to the crash, according to Minneapolis Police spokesperson John Elder.
"That's part of the investigation," he told FOX 9. "It's believed the stop arm was not out."
Dean's mother says a bus aide ran to her door to tell her what happened.
"I just took off running to get to my daughter," said Williams, who has not left her daughter's side at the hospital yet.
"It's really sad for a person to do that to an 11-year-old child and all she is doing is coming home from school," Williams said.
The Minneapolis Police Department says what happened Friday is rare, but even one incident is one too many.
"When people see school buses pulled over to the side of the road, we need to exercise due caution," Elder said. "Even additional due caution to make sure that these children are safe."
Now, Dean's family is praying for a miracle and asking the community to do the same.
"Shianne is a loving person, so just please pray for her so she can get out of this and come home," said Williams.
The driver who police believe hit Dean was taken into custody, but he has not officially been charged.
FOX 9 reached out to Monarch Bus Service, the bus company police say was bringing Shianne home from her charter school Friday. They declined to comment.