NewsCovering Louisiana


Long recovery for 9-year-old hit by dump truck

Posted at 6:13 AM, Oct 12, 2021

Nine-year-old Belle Chasse girl, Isabelle Castanza, was struck by a dump truck on Wednesday afternoon, after exiting a school bus. Family say she has a long recovery ahead.

A Gofundme dedicated to fund Castanza's recovery has so far raised over $9,000, as of Tuesday.

Last week, organizers of Isabelle's fund say she is in stable condition after having surgery. Doctors at Children's Hospital were trying to save all of her, but Isabelle sadly lost a foot.

Her mother, Michelle Winterstein, told Wwltv, “She’s still here, that alone is the biggest fight.”

An investigation by state police revealed that the school bus Isabelle was on stopped in the northbound lane of LA Hwy 23 and was doing everything right. The stop signs extended and flashing lights activated.

Witnesses say Isabelle exited the bus and was walking away from the roadway. At the same time, a dump truck, driven by 61-year-old Gregory Valentine of Donaldsonville, approached the rear of the school bus, but failed to come to a stop.

Valentine allegedly swerved to the right onto the northbound shoulder to avoid the school bus, but struck the 9-year-old child.

Parents say Isabelle was awake the whole time, and luckily, she has no internal bleeding.

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 Fernandez, is thankful she’ll still be able to be a kid.

“Cherish your child like your most prized possession because your child is your most prized possession,” Fernandez said.

Valentine was charged with negligent Injuring, reckless operation of a vehicle, and driving with a suspended license.

To donate to Isabelle's Gofundme, click here.

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