6-Year-Old Dragged Nearly 600 Feet by School Bus After Backpack Got Caught in Door: 'Terrifying'

The school district told local outlets the school bus driver has been placed on leave

Photo: Getty

A Maine school bus driver has been placed on leave after a 6-year-old boy was dragged hundreds of feet when his backpack became stuck in the vehicle's door, multiple outlets reported.

The incident happened in front of the boy's mother when he arrived home on Thursday afternoon, according to ABC station WMTW.

"My son tried to get off," Athena Lavigne, the boy's mother, told CBS station WGME. "And he immediately started to drive off. I was waiting for his little body to go underneath the bus. I didn't think the driver was going to stop."

Lavigne said she ran after the bus and screamed for the driver to come to a stop.

"I didn't think he was going to stop," she added to WGME. "I thought he was going to just keep driving. It felt like forever. It was terrifying."

The driver eventually stopped the bus after Lavigne's son had been pulled about 575 feet, the Associated Press reported. The boy suffered road rash and was taken to a local hospital.

Representatives for the Bonny Eagle School District did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment but told the AP the 63-year-old driver is relatively new to the job and is on administrative leave.

PEOPLE reached out to Lavigne and the Buxton Police Department for updates on Wednesday afternoon.

"There are many things that could have gone wrong," Buxton Police Department Chief Troy Cline said, according to ABC station WSET. "You're just hoping that child is OK and not severely injured."

A district transportation director told WMTW their drivers complete a minimum of 40 hours of training before transporting students. In addition, the district's rules say drivers must wait for students to cross the street before closing bus doors.

But Lavigne said it might be hard to convince her son to board a bus in the future.

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"He's been a real trooper. He's really scared. Doesn't want to ride the school bus anymore," she told WGME.

"I don't understand how this happened," she added. "I'm just so glad he's OK."

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