A Stokesdale man now faces a felony charge, in addition to misdemeanor traffic offenses, after troopers say he passed a stopped school bus and hit a 6-year-old boy who was crossing the road to get on board, according to the State Highway Patrol.
James Michael Christman, 47, met troopers at the Guilford County Jail on April 15 and was served with a warrant for arrest that included the elevated charge sought by investigators through the Guilford County District Attorney’s Office, according to a news release issued Tuesday by the highway patrol.
Christman is charged with a Class I felony in the incident, which severely injured Jaxson Franklin, a Stokesdale Elementary School student.
Christman has two separate court dates in May for the charges against him, which also include fail to stop for a stopped bus and reckless driving to endanger, according to online court records.
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Troopers were called to the scene on NC 65 near Self Road, about 6:47 a.m. March 30.
Christman was traveling west on NC 65 in a 2020 Nissan Maxima, the highway patrol said in a news release. The school bus was stopped, facing east on NC 65 and displaying its mechanical stop arm, and flashing red lights.
“Christman disregarded the activated lights and stop arm” and hit the child, who was crossing from the north shoulder of the road headed south, according to the news release.
The child suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.
Impairment is not suspected as a contributing factor in this crash.
Troopers are not providing updates on the child’s condition at the request of family, according to patrol spokesman Brian Martin.
The local community is continuing to rally around the Franklin family and is raising funds for the family’s expenses.
On April 17, a message from the family posted on a GoFundMe page said, “Jaxson was discharged from Brenner Children’s Hospital on Friday, April 14th and moved to Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte for intensive rehab. He is working hard daily and we are seeing improvements every day. We are grateful for all of the prayers and support we have received and ask for continued prayers for complete healing.”