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The grandfather of the West Rowan High School student who was hit by a car and killed says he has compassion for the woman charged.
Gary Phillips is the grandfather of 17-year-old Makinzy Smith. Makinzy was crossing Woodleaf Road Thursday just after 6:30 a.m. to board his school bus when investigators say Barbara Harrison Smith hit Makinzy with her car.
Makinzy died, and was laid to rest Saturday. Outside his home, a roadside memorial pays tribute to his life. The school district has grief counselors available for students this week.
"He didn't have hatred bones in him. He was very mature for his age, and so thoughtful and so respectful that he was greatly loved by everybody," Grandfather Gary Phillips told WBTV.
Barbara Smith, 57, is charged with felony passing a stopped school bus. Her first court appearance was Monday morning. She wasn't there, but her attorney from the Davis Law Firm showed up to represent her.
Meanwhile, on the stairs of the Rowan County Courthouse, Gary Phillips offered forgiveness to Barbara Smith.
"I am sorry that this tragedy happened. I am sorry," Philips told WBTV. "I know you (Barbara) are hurting as well. I want you to know I don't have no hatred or anything. Whatever happens next is really not in my grasp."
"I have no anger in my heart," Phillips told WBTV. "I know the woman who hit my grandson. She is hurting too."
Phillips says he would like to see changes so that a bus would have to stop on the side of the road where the child is waiting instead of having the child to cross the road to board the bus.
Troopers said on Thursday morning the lights and stop arm on the bus were working properly.
Barbara Smith will be in court on Dec. 4 for a probable cause hearing.