ST. PAUL (WCCO) — An 11-year-old St. Paul boy walking to school Monday morning never made it –he was struck by a car whose driver never saw him.
That child, identified as Bikram Phuyel, is undergoing surgery at Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul.
According to relatives, Phuyel has not regained consciousness.
The accident happened shortly after 7 a.m. at the intersection of Rice Street and Hoyt Avenue, just a block from the child’s home.
He was struck by a driver who went around another car that was slowing down in the northbound lane.
“He’s a good guy, he go to school every day, he don’t fight with his parents ,” said Phuyel’s cousin, Jaga Chapagain.
Bikram is the youngest of three children. His family came to Minnesota from Nepal, where they were refugees. They say Phuyel loves school and wants to be a cop one day.
He was on his way to school, just steps ahead of his brother, when he was struck.
“He was trying to touch his body, and trying to move him,” Chapagain said. “He was unconscious, and can’t reply nothing, just like sleepy.”
Police questioned and released the driver, calling it an unfortunate accident. The boy was rushed to Gillette Children’s, where he was rushed into surgery to relieve swelling and bleeding on the brain.
“I feel so afraid here, what going to happen to that kid, I don’t know, I’m so afraid right now too,” Chapagain said.
Rice Street has controlled crossings two blocks to the north and south. But students walking to school often take the shortest route.
That’s why many want signs posted and a pedestrian crossing painted.
“Just a simple crosswalk,” said Virgil Calamese, who works nearby. “I mean, hell, if you get the paint, I’ll paint it myself.”
But that is a discussion that came far too late for the 11-year-old, now struggling for life.
“I’m hoping, praying to God, he comes home good, you know,” Chapagain, the boy’s cousin, said. “Right now he’s unconscious, nothing.”
St. Paul Police Sgt. Paul Paulos cautioned all drivers to pay special attention now that the days are shorter.
“This is a terrible thing that happened this morning. This is a bad accident and we hope the kid pulls through,” St. Paul Police Sgt. Paul Paulos said.
The driver of the car who struck the student was released. Police say the driver had no signs of impairment and the incident appears to have been completely accidental.