Teacher accused of Salem hit-and-run; lawyer says boy on skateboard rear-ended her car



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SALEM, Oregon — A West Salem High School choir teacher faces a felony hit-and-run charge after police say she left the scene of a collision with an 8-year-old boy who suffered a broken leg.

The teacher's lawyer said she left briefly to take her own son to school, while her husband remained behind, and she quickly returned. But the law required the teacher, Kimberly McConnell, 52, to wait for an officer, help the boy and provide information, police said.

A witness, a nurse, took the boy to Salem Hospital, the Statesman Journal reported Thursday (http://stjr.nl/1vxshfu ).

The crash happened Sept. 19, but the boy's family didn't report the incident to police until Sept. 23, when officers started an investigation and arrested McConnell at the police department.

"The investigation, when finished, will show Mrs. McConnell was driving the speed limit," said her lawyer, Walter Todd. "The child skateboarded into the rear of her vehicle. The accident was unavoidable. Mrs. McConnell stopped immediately. She is neighbors with the family and their children played together. The child's family did not want to call 911 or an ambulance. Mrs. McConnell's husband stayed on site while she briefly took her own son to the high school and then immediately returned minutes later. By then the child had been taken by private vehicle to the hospital."

Lt. Dave Okada, a police spokesman, said McConnell was legally required to provide identification for herself and anyone else who may have been in the vehicle, along with her driver's license.

She has been released on bail.

Jay Remy, spokesman for Salem-Keizer Public Schools, said McConnell has worked at West Salem as a choir teacher since 2011. She remains on the job and the case will have to go further in the courts before it has an impact on her position, he said.


Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com

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