A 9-year-old girl lost half of her foot and may have to have part of her leg amputated after she was hit by a dump truck while getting off a school bus. State police say the 61-year-old driver of the dump truck hit the fourth grader as he swerved onto the shoulder, trying to avoid hitting the back of the bus.

“According to investigators the school bus driver was doing what she needed to do,” Trooper Brennan with Louisiana State Police said. “Signs were extended. The lights were flashing. He failed to come to a stop.”

Her name is Isabella Castanza and authorities say she was hit on Highway 23 on October 6.

Isabella’s mom Michelle Winterstein says her daughter is a fighter.

“She’s still here,” Winterstein said. “That alone is the biggest fight.

“Unfortunately, she was awake during the entire incident. She did not pass out. She was awake for the truck stopping on her and everything,” she said.

Isabella was airlifted to Children’s Hospital.

Her mom says Isabella has been sedated ever since and recovery will be long. At least half of her daughter’s left foot and the lower part of her right leg need to be amputated, she said.

“That’s going to happen at the end of the week, they’re just trying to give her body time to basically calm down and see what her tissue and stuff like that is going to do,” she added.

A GoFundMe which has raised more than $19,000 for the family so far, posted an update on Oct. 7 saying: “She is in stable condition. She had surgery today. Doctors are doing everything to try and save her leg. She sadly lost a foot. Any and all donations will go directly to the family. Thank you all for your support and kindness.”

Winterstein says her daughter will be in a wheelchair for a while, creating needs they never thought they’d have to deal with. Castanza’s stepdad, Jonathan, is thankful she suffered no internal injuries.

“Cherish your child like your most prized possession because your child is your most prized possession,” he added.

The driver of the dump truck, Gregory Valentine, is charged with negligent injuring, reckless operation of a vehicle, and driving with a suspended license. This is a developing story and it will be updated as new information become available. 

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