Wednesday, January 8 2014 5:50 PM EST2014-01-08 22:50:22 GMT
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PELHAM, AL (WSFA) -
One Montgomery student was killed and a second suffered minor injuries in an accident during a school field trip Tuesday. The students, who went to Robert E. Lee High School, were in Pelham, a suburb of Birmingham, when they were struck by a truck, according to Montgomery Public Schools officials.
Family members identified the student killed in the crash as 16-year-old Alex Bridgman.
According to Pelham police, the two juveniles were struck by the vehicle shortly after 6 p.m. at the intersection of Cahaba Valley Road and Cahaba Valley Parkway, which is just off Interstate 65.
Police say one lane of traffic had stopped and the students were attempting to run across both lanes to the median when they stepped into the path of a truck.
Police say one of the victims died at the scene. The other student was transported to an area hospital with what were described as non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the truck was not injured.
MPS spokesman Tom Salter says while the system has a field trip policy, the system does not believe that policy was violated in any way. He says MPS is, however, conducting an internal investigation. There were 49 students on the field trip and six chaperones.
MPS officials say the students, who were part of the IT Academy at Lee H.S., were returning to Montgomery after a field trip to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. They were on a dinner break at the time of the crash.
"Two male students were struck by a vehicle as they tried to cross the road," Salter said. "One of the students was killed, the other sustained minor injuries...The students were told not to cross the street when they stopped for their meals."
The rest of the students who went on the field trip returned by bus to Lee High School Tuesday night. Students could be seen crying and hugging as they were reunited with their parents.
Officials say counselors are being made available at the school to anyone in need. Principal Lorenza Pharrams says the school is "in the grieving process."
"We're deeply saddened. When one individual hurts at Lee High School, we all hurt. Our hearts go out to the family and we're going to do our best to get through this as a family," Pharrams told WSFA 12 News Tuesday night. "We had counselors from all over the system come to Lee High School tonight to be here when the students returned. We will do that again in the morning to make certain that those students along with any of the additional students that we have so they have someone to speak to about their emotions."
"It certainly is tragic anytime a young person is hurt or killed and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the two students," added Tom Salter.
The case remains under investigation by the Pelham Police Department and members of the Shelby County Traffic Homicide Task Force. Investigators say there are no indications that speed, alcohol or drugs were involved in the accident.
On Wednesday, students at Lee High School said the school held several moments of silence for Alex Bridgman. In every one of his classes, counselors were present and students said his desk was reserved and left empty as a tribute to him.
"He was a very nice student, very humble, very respectful, very quiet, very peaceful. He was a good friend," said Lashante Porter.
"We really have feelings for Alex. We really loved Alex. He was one of those students that everybody would come talk to. I'm really going to miss him," added Quendarius Smith.
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