Police: Distracted driving a big, and sometimes deadly problem

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - An accident on Dedeaux Road in Gulfport Monday sent an 11-year-old girl to the hospital, and serves as a reminder about how quickly a simple drive to work can turn tragic.

Earnest Phillips witnessed the accident and told us reckless driving with school children in the area is far too common

"Sitting in my rocker I see vehicles disregard the stop arm on the bus. They come around the bus," Phillips said. "My wife saw the whole ordeal. I heard her holler. I came out and she saw the little girl struck and flying through the air. We covered her with a blanket and called 911."

Damon McDaniel with the Gulfport Police Department says the driver of that truck was given two citations and was turned over to federal custody.

"He was cited for no driver's license and no proof of insurance. He was taken into custody by Immigrations Customs Enforcement to deal with his status in the United States of America."

Sgt. McDaniel said this accident should remind motorists and school children to always be cautious.

"In this case, maybe it'll heighten the awareness of the motoring public to pay attention. These children, small and in high school, need to pay attention to what's happening on the side of the road."

The young girl was airlifted to USA Medical Center in Mobile. Her family told WLOX News she was in a coma, had emergency surgery and is on a ventilator.

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