SHERIDAN — A student at Henry A. Coffeen Elementary School remains in critical condition after being pulled under a school bus Monday afternoon.
Due to brain swelling, six-year-old Esperanza Lagunes-Aarstad is in a coma and on life support at Colorado Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colorado.
According to Lagunes-Aarstad’s mother, Kayla Lagunes-Rivera, and stepfather, Terry Dieleman, the outlook on the child’s life is grim. Lagunes-Rivera and Dieleman said they will have a better sense of Lagunes-Aarstad’s prognosis Wednesday afternoon, but the family is preparing for the worst.
If Lagunes-Aarstad survives, her life will be permanently altered as a result of the serious injuries she suffered.
“She’s not going to be the same,” Lagunes-Rivera said.
According to Sheridan Police Department and from what Lagunes-Rivera and Dieleman were told, Lagunes-Aarstad was trying to catch her bus home from school. When Lagunes-Aarstad attempted to get the driver’s attention by running at the side of the bus, she tripped and was pulled under the vehicle.
SPD is overseeing the investigation into the incident with assistance from Wyoming Highway Patrol. SPD Lt. Travis Koltiska said based on the preliminary investigation there are no anticipated charges toward the bus driver.
Lagunes-Rivera and Dieleman said they plan to pursue legal action against the bus driver and Sheridan County School District 2.
However, the potential for future compensation provides little comfort at the moment.
“There’s not any amount of money that could undo what happened to my daughter,” Lagunes-Rivera said. “There’s nothing that could fix that.”
Lagunes-Rivera and Dieleman said local schools need to make improvements to their bus pickup procedures so something similar does not occur in the future.
“Obviously something different needs to be done or this can happen to anybody again,” Dieleman said.
SCSD2 superintendent Craig Dougherty did not respond to repeated contact attempts Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning.
The couple has three other children who have remained in Sheridan while Lagunes-Rivera and Dieleman and several extended family members stay in Colorado.
As of 12 p.m. Wednesday, a GoFundMe page has raised more than $16,500 from 315 contributions to help with Lagunes-Aarstad’s housing and medical expenses. An account for donations has also been set up through First Northern Bank of Wyoming. Megan Badgett, a relative of Lagunes-Aarstad’s family, created the GoFundMe account. She said any leftover money will be put into a trust fund for Esperanza’s siblings.