Monday, October 27, 2008, 10:29 PM
Known as a little drama queen and named for a princess, a 10-year-old honor roll student from Reserve died Monday morning trying to get to one of the places she cared about the most: school.
Jasmine Green, a fifth-grader at Fifth Ward Elementary, always ran late for the school bus, her mother said. But early Monday morning when she jumped a ditch trying to catch the bus on East 24th Street, she was hit by the vehicle she relied on every day to get her to school.
“It’s such a tragedy, ” school system Superintendent Courtney Millet said. “Jasmine was such a beautiful girl, a beautiful smile, a beautiful fifth-grader.”
St. John the Baptist authorities said Jasmine was trying to flag down the driver shortly before 7:30 a.m. when the accident happened.
About eight other students were on the bus at the time.
Jasmine, who enjoyed reading, singing and dancing, died about 90 minutes after the accident, at River Parishes Hospital in LaPlace.
The bus driver, Josephine Washington, 32, will not be cited, said Maj. Mike Tregre, a St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
Tregre said the driver was not at fault, and authorities have no reason to believe Washington acted improperly or was negligent.
“It was just a horrible, tragic accident, ” Tregre said.
‘I close my eyes and I see it’
Family members said Jasmine, who is named after a Disney princess, was dropped off at her grandmother’s house by her mother about five minutes before the accident.
According to witnesses, Jasmine had just missed the bus, which usually picks up students on the right side of the road and travels south on River Road.
Witnesses say the driver was peering into the rearview mirror to see that children on the bus were sitting when Jasmine, with her school bag on her back, jumped a ditch and approached the bus from the driver’s side, trying to get Washington’s attention. The front left corner of the bus apparently hit the girl, knocking her to the ground and under the rear tires.
“We just saw the bus went up, and we saw her lying on the ground, ” said Darnelle Frank, 8, a neighbor who frequently played hide-and-seek with Jasmine.
“She was coming out at the last minute and was saying ‘stop, ‘ but (the driver) didn’t see her, ” said Darnelle, who was on the bus with her twin sister, Danielle. “We were just playing with her yesterday.”
The twins’ mother, Carla Frank, 41, said she was watching as her children got on the bus and saw the accident.
“I close my eyes, and I see it. She had her little hand out and was saying, ‘stop, stop, ‘ ” Frank said. “I just rubbed her back. She lifted her head when I called her name.”
Tregre said deputies cut the straps of Green’s bookbag and removed it from her small frame.
Jasmine’s great uncle, Merlin Green, 48, said going to school was her favorite thing.
“She died doing what she loved to do, ” he said.
‘I just loved her so’
School officials say Jasmine was an honor roll staple and had scored at the mastery level in English and science on the fourth-grade LEAP test. Mastery is the second-highest level.
“I just loved her so, ” teacher Ayesha Taylor said. Jasmine was respectful, smart, “one of the cream of the crop, ” she said.
Taylor chose Jasmine as the outstanding student for the quarter from her class. It is an honor based on a student’s behavior, academic performance and effort, she said.
On Friday, Jasmine, along with several other students, was honored during an Honor Roll Celebration in the school’s cafeteria.
“She was one who, if you gave her something to do, she was going to finish it, ” teacher Sharon Joseph said. “She didn’t give up.”
A team of counselors went to the school Monday to talk to students and teachers.
A counselor went to every class and informed the teacher about the accident, Millet said. Either the teacher or the counselor then told the students.
“It was very, very sad, ” she said. Millet also sent letters home to parents informing them of the accident.
Students were told that it is all right to be sad or to feel whatever they felt, she said. Students in the upper grades were invited to write letters or draw pictures for Jasmine’s family, Millet said.
“There were definitely tears, ” said Giselle Juneau, who heads the district’s crisis intervention program.
“There were children on the bus who were upset earlier” and chose to leave school early, she said.
The school will have a memorial service later this week, Millet said.
“She was a sweet, pleasant child, ” Principal Kendria Spears said.
Spears said Jasmine was well-behaved and outgoing. “She was really a joy to be around, ” she said.
A final kiss
Jasmine’s mother, Tameki Green, 32, a special education teacher at East St. John Elementary in LaPlace, got news of the accident shortly after she arrived at work Monday morning. She was told to go straight to East 24th Street.
When she arrived, her daughter was being placed on a stretcher.
“I told her I was here, ” her mother said.
Jasmine had several internal injuries, a broken pelvis, broken ribs and an injured leg. She was placed on a ventilator and did not have a pulse when her mother made the choice to take her off the machines.
“There was no point in keeping her here in pain. She was a good kid, and I didn’t want her to suffer, ” Green said. “I told her she was loved and would be missed. That she was the apple of my eye, all my life.”
Green said Jasmine, a wonderful big sister to her 2-year-old brother Donovan Sanders, was always running late for her school bus. She said her daughter would try all she could to get on that bus.
Just before dropping her off at the bus stop Monday, Green asked Jasmine for a kiss.
“She said, ‘Oh, I’ll give you one when I get home this evening, ‘ and that was it, ” Green said.
Green, who said Jasmine usually does not argue about giving her mother kisses, later got that kiss at the hospital.
“I made sure I got that kiss, ” she said.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
1114955 79555 57
her path of destiny = 57 = Tender hearted. Condolences. Heartbreaker. Heartache. Tearjerker. Tears. Tear drops. Crying. Weeping.