8-Year-Old Hit By Car Returns to Class

Family thanks Mansfield ISD nurse, school community

Just a week after he was hit by a car and airlifted to the hospital, a third grader in the Mansfield Independent School District is back in school. His family says it's a miracle that might not have happened if not for the support of the community at his school and a nurse who works there.

Perhaps no one was happier to see eight-year-old Ben Shugart back in the hallways of Cora Spencer Elementary than school nurse Kari George.

"It's good to see him laughing and smiling again," said George. "It's amazing – just our own miracle right there."

Minutes after school ended on Nov. 2, George received a frantic phone call that a student had been hit by a car.

"Before she could even finish where it was or anything, I ran out the front door," said George.

Ben and his mother, Karen Shugart, were walking home from the school and came to the intersection of Camino Lagos and Meseta. She took his hand and led him into the crosswalk.

When they were halfway across, a driver turning in the intersection, who hadn't noticed them, struck Ben. The impact sent him onto the hood of the car before he rolled off and went underneath the car.

The car missed his mother, who watched as the car stopped and Ben rolled out between two tires on one side.

"It's certainly a great testing of faith," said Shugart. "I knew that at that point, I may be faced with making decisions that would affect my family for the rest of our lives."

George arrived on the scene moments later and started taking control of the situation.

"That nursing instinct just took over," said George.

She was relieved to find Ben alert and instantly began checking him for injuries. She also made sure no one moved him until the paramedics arrived.

Once the decision was made to airlift Ben to a hospital, she stayed with his mom, helped her make phone calls to other family members and even took her home to help her pack for the hospital.

"I knew I had to be right there with her," said George.

"Emotionally, I know that her presence just gave me great peace of mind," said Karen Shugart. "Without her, I'm sure I would have felt a lot more alone and unraveled."

Ben fractured his pelvis but otherwise escaped with bumps and bruises.

He told NBC 5 he's feeling "good" and that he wasn't scared in the helicopter, which he described as "pretty cool."

"We are just so very thankful he's alright," said Karen Shugart.

And that gratitude extends to many people. Ben's teachers and principal came to visit him at the hospital, other parents at Cora Spencer organized a prayer circle for the family and several of Ben's classmates made cards for him.

Karen Shugart said her family now looks forward to life getting back to normal and cherishing every waking moment with Ben.

"You just cannot take the everyday moments for granted," she said.

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