A 14-year-old boy killed after being hit by a bus in front of his classmates has been remembered by his family as ‘the best little brother I could have ever asked for’.
Cameron Millen died when he was struck by a bus outside Macarthur Anglican School at Cobbitty, in Sydney’s southwest, just before 3pm on Wednesday.
Three ambulances and a helicopter rushed to the scene. They administered CPR to the teenager before transporting him by road to Liverpool Hospital in critical condition, where he died a short time later.
Penina Lopesi, the 54-year-old bus driver, was also taken to Liverpool Hospital for mandatory testing. She was then arrested and charged over the boy’s death.
On Thursday morning, Cameron’s older brother, who is a Year 11 student at the same school, wrote a heartbreaking tribute on Instagram.
‘Rest in peace little bro,’ he wrote.
‘You were the best little brother I could have ever asked for. Though I found you annoying sometimes, you were always there for me and I can’t believe you’re gone.’
‘I will do my best to make you proud lil’ man. Love you.’
Cameron Millen (pictured) died when he was struck by a bus outside Macarthur Anglican School at Cobbitty
A staff member appeared to attend to the bus driver moments after the crash. The side of the bus is heavily damaged
Footage has emerged of Lopesi, a mother-of-three, dressed in a white gown being escorted from the hospital by officers and getting into the back of a police van for the short drive to Liverpool police station.
She was refused bail and will appear in Liverpool Local Court on Thursday.
Her licence was also suspended.
‘She has been driving buses for many, many years, decades I’d say,’ a family friend of Lopesi told The Daily Telegraph.
‘This is a real shock.’
Anthony Lopesi rushed to the hospital to be by his mum’s side as she underwent blood and alcohol testing.
‘She is very sad the boy passed away from the crash,’ he told the publication.
Lopesi’s husband Tupuola is a pastor at Hills of Praise Worship Centre at Minto.
He will attend court on Thursday to support his wife after getting a call from her when she was at the police station.
‘She just said what had happened…I talked to her, it’s very sad,’ Pastor Lopesi said.
Bus driver Penina Lopesi (pictured) has been charged after a year nine student was allegedly struck and killed outside Macarthur Anglican School
The female bus driver was still wearing a hospital gown when she arrested and escorted to a police van after she was discharged from Liverpool Hospital on Wednesday night. She has since been charged
The tragedy has sparked an outpouring of heartfelt tributes for Cameron.
‘I will always remember busting you in my pantry, helping you look scary for Halloween and hanging with my kids. Rest in peace dude. X. Thinking of your mum and dad and brother,’ a family friend posted online.
One mate added: ‘Rest easy, Cameron love you lots my bro.’
Another wrote: ‘Rip Cameron, miss you lots from me and my brother.’
The tragedy has rocked staff and students at Macarthur Anglican School.
‘It’s a tough day,’ Dr Nockles told reporters outside the school on Thursday morning.
‘My priorities are with our students and pastorally caring for them.
‘I have conducted a couple of assemblies that are age appropriate where we have provided counselling for our students.’
One local claimed she knew a school staff member who was ‘first on the scene to give resuscitation’.
‘Her concern is for his parents and the children, please pray for the staff today,’ the woman posted.
A parents revealed she arrived at the school to pick up her son moments after the tragedy.
‘I was shocked. I saw him laying on the ground Someone tried to do CPR,’ she wrote.
‘My heart is breaking to hear the bad news. We love school. Hopefully everyone will be ok after this difficult time.’
The female bus driver, 54, spent the night in custody and will appear in Liverpool Local Court on Thursday
The tragedy occurred at the front of the school near the on-site chapel.
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the boy’s family, including his brother in Yr 11, as they deal with unimaginable grief and heartache,’ Dr Nockles said in a statement.
‘The school appreciates the tangible support for our school community as we work through this terrible shock and loss to the wider Macarthur family.’
Counsellors will work alongside the school’s pastoral care team to provide support to devastated staff and students in the coming days and weeks.
‘These councillors have come from our surrounding Anglican schools, other Christian schools, Anglicare, the Police and the ambulance service,’ Dr Nockles added.
‘The school is thankful for the support of our fellow schools and emergency service providers.
‘The headmaster appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that he and other staff have received for the school community and the boy’s family in particular.’
‘The matter is now part of a police investigation, and the school will not make any further comments in this regard.’
Three ambulances and an air ambulance rushed to the scene and performed CPR on the boy
A teenager died in hospital after the incident. Pictured is the scene of the tragedy
Terrified students revealed how they thought the bus driver suffered a ‘medical episode’ before she allegedly veered off the road, smashing through a steel bollard on the footpath and allegedly running over the teenage boy.
Superintendent Paul Fuller from Camden Police said ‘it was at school pick up so there was a lot of students and a lot of parents in the area’.
Shocked parents and teachers at the elite private school attended to the injured boy before ambulance crews arrived, while others forced open the bus’ emergency exits to get to the children inside.
A harrowing photo from the scene showed the driver slumped over in her seat as a staff member attended to her.
One student who was on the bus told Seven News the driver appeared to have some kind of medical episode before leaving the road.
Parents of other students on the bus also said they witnessed the driver having health troubles before the losing control.
The exclusive co-educational private school for years K-12 charges up to $21,000 a year in student fees, making it one of the most expensive in the Macarthur area.
Pictures show the bus appears to have crossed a footpath and hit a tree at Macarthur Anglican School in south-west Sydney (pictured)
The principal wrote to parents on Wednesday night to address the tragedy and to express his anguish.
‘The incident required considerable police and ambulance presence, including a helicopter,’ Mr Nockles wrote.
‘Many students, parents and staff witnessed the accident so I would encourage you to speak with your children and if needed provide support for them.
‘Tomorrow morning we will hold age-appropriate assemblies where we can begin debriefing the students and provide pastoral care support.
‘Your prayers are very much appreciated at this time of distress in our community.’
The police investigation into the circumstances is ongoing.
Anyone with information is being asked to contact police.
An air ambulance landed on the school’s playing field to rush the boy to hospital (pictured)
The tragedy has rocked staff and students at Macarthur Anglican School
THE FULL STATEMENT FROM MACARTHUR ANGLICAN SCHOOL
The Headmaster, Dr David Nockles, confirms the tragic death of a Year 9 student following an accident that occurred at the front of the school near the Chapel yesterday afternoon.
At present, all that can be confirmed is that a public transport bus lost control as it moved away from the bus bays, mounting the kerb.
As a result of that accident, the student sustained injuries resulting in his death after his arrival at the hospital.
The matter is now part of a police investigation, and the school will not make any further comments in this regard.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the boy’s family, including his brother in Yr 11, as they deal with unimaginable grief and heartache.
The school appreciates the tangible support for our school community as we work through this terrible shock and loss to the wider Macarthur family.
Earlier this morning, a couple of age-appropriate assemblies were held.
Following these brief assemblies, the students attended their usual classes to be in the care of their teacher or a team of counsellors the school has called on.
A team of outside counsellors have been arranged to work alongside the school’s pastoral care team, assisting those students and staff who need direct support.
These councillors have come from our surrounding Anglican schools, other Christian schools, Anglicare, the Police and the ambulance service.
The school is thankful for the support of our fellow schools and emergency service providers.
Pastoral care and counselling will continue to be available to students and staff in the coming days and weeks.
The Headmaster appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that he and other staff have received for the school community and the boy’s family in particular.