DA: No Charges in Boy's Horseplay Death

By: Michael Rubinkam
By: Michael Rubinkam

EASTON, Pa. (AP) -- The death of a 12-year-old boy who was hit by a bus outside school as he horsed around with friends was a tragic accident that does not warrant criminal charges, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Dakota Galusha was gently shoved by a 13-year-old friend and stumbled backward over a curb and under the rear wheels of the bus before class two weeks ago, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said.

"There is no evidence that the deceased and (the student) had any personal problems between them. To the contrary, it appears that they had a well-known, friendly relationship," Morganelli said.

The student's name was not released.

Dakota's mother had just dropped him off at Northampton Middle School outside Allentown when the accident occurred at about 7:15 a.m. on Jan. 26. Dakota kiddingly told his friend he had put something in his pond and, as a reply, the boy gave Dakota a one-handed push, the prosecutor said.

The bus that hit Dakota was going 3 to 5 mph as it approached the curb to drop students off. Its rear wheels ran over the boy's midsection.

A coroner ruled Dakota's death a homicide. But Morganelli said the evidence did not support a criminal charge of involuntary manslaughter, which requires reckless or grossly negligent behavior where a death could reasonably be foreseen.

"I do not find that (the boy) could have foreseen that his friendly push of his friend would place his friend in danger of death," Morganelli said. "Clearly, the untimely death of 12-year-old Dakota Galusha was tragic. It was not, however, the result of criminally culpable conduct."

Morganelli said Dakota's parents, Kendall and Dina Galusha, agreed.

"They expressed no anger (toward the child) whatsoever," he said.

Dakota, who went by the nickname "Kota," played baseball, football and basketball and liked to snowboard. He was a staunch New York Giants fan.

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