During a news conference Tuesday, police identified the children as Shalom Mbah, 10, and Sky Sosa, 5, both of Riverdale.
The Riverdale Elementary School students were in a crosswalk at the intersection of Riverdale Road and Taylor Road with a male relative when they were hit by a van attempting to make a left turn at around 8 a.m.
Officers provided medical attention to the students at the scene and they were transported to a hospital where they later died.
The man who was hit suffered injuries that weren’t considered life threatening. Prince George’s County Police Chief Malik Aziz said that the department isn’t publicly sharing how the students were related to the man.
A woman who was driving the van southbound on Taylor Road was making a left turn onto Riverdale Road when the collision happened. She wasn’t injured and stayed on the scene, police said.
It isn’t clear whether she’ll face charges as police are still working to understand what happened and their investigation could take months to complete.
“As is standard with all fatal crashes when the collision analysis and reconstruction unit completes this investigation, the findings are turned over to the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for consideration of possible criminal charges,” Aziz said.
The collision happened right as many students were arriving for classes. Riverdale Elementary School held virtual classes on Tuesday.
“Our hearts ache, as we extend our deepest condolences following this most tragic accident that claimed the lives of two of our beloved Riverdale Elementary School students,” said Millard House II, the superintendent of the county’s public school division. “The entire community, the school system is grieving.”
House said in addition to in-person counselors, support will also be available virtually for students.
“As we approach this season of being thankful and dedicating our expressions and gratitude and cherish the holiday for loved ones, let us unite to quite frankly, support one another in this scenario,” House said.
When questioned about whether a crossing guard was posted at the intersection where the crash happened, Aziz said, “in this particular case, the school crossing guard it wouldn’t appear that would have made a great difference.”
The police chief admitted that the department has had issues hiring on crossing guards post-pandemic.
“We are not where we need to be in meeting the challenge,” he said, while encouraging people who care about “the safety of our children,” to apply.
The school crossing guard who had worked at the site of the crash retired last summer, and Aziz said his post has yet to be filled. Prince George’s County police has interviews with candidates in the coming weeks.
Millard, who said he was on the scene after the crash, thanked law enforcement for their response.
“We’re committed to a continued partnership and working with our local authorities on ensuring that full coverage of crossing guards are in place for now and for the future,” Millard said.
Police are continuing to investigate the crash which includes reviewing video evidence. Aziz asked that anyone with footage of the incident to send it to police and urged anyone with information about the crash to contact investigators at 301-731-4422.