DAWSONVILLE - A 5-year-old boy is expected to recover, family members say, after he was struck by a sport utility vehicle this morning near a school bus stop in Dawson County.
Authorities said the driver of the white Jeep Cherokee, 19-year-old Gary Alan Hoosline of Cleveland, was arrested a short time later after leaving the scene on Dawson Forest Road.
Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle said Hoosline has been charged with failure to stop for a school bus and failure to report an accident with injuries (hit and run). The Georgia State Patrol is handling the investigation.
Romel Velasquez said his nephew, Omar Gomez, was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center with what were described as non-life-threatening injuries.
"They've taken him back for X-rays on his head," said Velasquez, when reached by phone as he and the family waited at the Gainesville hospital.
Velasquez saw the incident, which happened about 7:30 a.m. He said Gomez, a student at Black's Mill Elementary School, was waiting with his siblings and cousins as the bus was coming to a stop in front of their home.
His nephew, he said, was "hit as he started to walk across the road to get on the bus."
"He's going to be OK," Velasquez said, "but it knocked him down, and he was bleeding."
No one else was injured in the incident.
Dawson County School Superintendent Nicky Gilleland, who arrived a few minutes later, worked with teachers to take the other children off the bus and walk them to the elementary school, which is a short distance away.
"He's going to be OK," Gilleland said of Gomez. "He didn't want to go to the hospital. He wanted to go on to school."
Witnesses said the Jeep, which was traveling west on Dawson Forest, didn't stop as it approached the bus.
"When the driver didn't stop after hitting the little boy, a few cars turned their cars around and took off following him," said Russell Hewatt, who was stopped behind the bus. "Everyone was on their cell phones calling 911."
Dawson County Sheriff's Lt. Tony Wooten said Hoosline was stopped a short distance away at Dawson Forest Road and Hwy. 9.
This story will be updated as developments warrant.