Francis Lewis teen killed by bus

Students at Francis Lewis High School in Flushing are trying to cope, since one of their schoolmates was killed by a yellow bus recently.
Jasmine Paragas, 14, was struck at about 8:10 a.m. on Thursday, December 4, as she was attempting to cross 57th Avenue at 92nd Street in Elmhurst, on her way to school.
The freshman honors student reportedly suffered a massive head injury, and was pronounced dead at nearby Elmhurst Hospital Center about 45 minutes later.
As word of the tragic accident reached the school and rumors began spreading, administrators responded quickly according to students.
“The principal made an announcement about what happened to Jasmine and that they were bringing in counselors in case we needed to talk about it,” said one junior, before he ran to catch an MTA bus.
Among those leaving the building at 58-20 Utopia Parkway that afternoon, some ashen-faced students and teachers were barely managing their grief over the loss of “a really nice girl.”
“I feel really bad,” said Jessica Castellanos, who was in “health class” with the deceased girl. “Her best friend Evelyn and the teacher started crying in my health class when we heard the news - everyone else just sat there in silence,” she said.
“Even the halls were completely quiet,” Castellanos continued. “Usually they’re pretty noisy,” she said.
Principal Musa Ali Shama called the dead girl’s parents to the school according to reports; other parents flocked there after word of the tragedy was reported in the media.
A message from Shama appeared on the school’s web site Thursday afternoon. It read in part, “Members of our counseling staff visited the classes to inform the students and to provide necessary support. People grieve in different ways. Your child may need to talk to you about what he/she is experiencing.”
Published reports say the fatal bus was transporting four special needs adults. Driver George Severino, 62, of Brooklyn remained at the scene and was reportedly issued traffic summons for equipment violations and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Severino was weeping and said, “I’m sorry, I can’t talk right now.”
Paragas reportedly lived with her parents and 10-year-old brother not far from where she was hit. The family emigrated from the Philippines about six years ago.
The sibling, Christian, was pulled out of school and told about the tragedy, according to a Mac Tecson, 46, a maternal uncle. “He’s in a state of shock,” Tecson reportedly said.
The girl had reportedly left her mother at a nearby subway station after making the dangerous crossing at Queens Boulevard; the girl was on her way to take a Q88 bus.
According to the schedule, a bus leaves from the Queens Center Mall, that occupies the entire block where the accident happened, at 8:13 a.m. and arrives by the school at 8:36 a.m. The next bus was scheduled 10 minutes later.

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