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Staff Photo by Dan Henry / The Chattanooga Times Free Press- 11/16/16. Chattanooga Police investigators work the scene where a cyclist was struck by a vehicle off of Browns Ferry Road on November, 16, 2016.
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Staff Photo by Dan Henry / The Chattanooga Times Free Press- 11/16/16. Investigator David Cowan and other Chattanooga Police investigators work the scene where a cyclist was struck by a vehicle off of Browns Ferry Road on November, 16, 2016.

UPDATE: The Bradley County Sheriff's Office says two siblings — a boy and a girl — found unresponsive in a pool Wednesday night are being treated in the pediatric intensive care unit at T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital at Erlanger.

"Detectives are still in the early stages of investigating the circumstances surrounding the discovery of the two juveniles, and the investigation is still fluid and ongoing. Our office has been in constant contact with the family, and will continue to provide updates as they become available for release. I want to thank the community for your continuous prayers for the family of the juveniles and the first-responders who came to the scene yesterday," said Sheriff Eric Watson. 

A spokeswoman with Bradley County Schools confirmed the children are students in the school system and said counselors are being made available to students. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family," Secretary to Director of Schools Patty Phillips said in a news release today.

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Two Bradley County children fought for their lives Wednesday night after they were found unconscious in a pool, the same day as a Hamilton County boy was killed riding his bike to school at Lookout Valley.

The 4800 block of Georgetown Road NW was shut down Wednesday night as a sea of emergency vehicles occupied the street and a gas station across the street from the house with its large backyard pool, just yards from Hopewell Elementary School. Behind the house, portable spotlights lit the pool as authorities walked around it.

The children are a brother and sister, 7 and 9, Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson said at a news conference at 7 p.m. He said the pair live next door to the home with the pool, but could not say exactly what happened.

He said investigators were treating the area as a crime scene until proven otherwise, but there was no reason to suspect foul play.

The children first were taken to Tennova Hospital in Cleveland, where doctors attempted to revive them. Watson didn't say at the news conference when they were found or what their status was.

An hour later, a spokesman for the Bradley County Sheriff's Office said the children were being sent to a Chattanooga hospital. One was being airlifted by Life Force and the other by Bradley County ambulance.

The children's condition was unknown at press time.

Meanwhile, another community mourned the death of a 17-year-old boy who was struck and killed while attempting to cross Browns Ferry Road on his bicycle early Wednesday morning.

J.T. Pruitt was hit as he crossed the five-lane highway just before 7 a.m. The teenager was crossing diagonally from the left side of the road to the right side just over the crest of a hill, police said.

He was struck in the far right lane by driver Kimberly Hartman, 37, who said she couldn't see Pruitt until she came over the hill. She said she swerved and braked but couldn't avoid hitting him, police said.

Pruitt, a student at Lookout Valley Middle/High School, was on his way to school when he was struck about one mile away. Browns Ferry Road has bike lanes on both shoulders.

Chattanooga police Sgt. Justin Kilgore said Hartman stopped and called 911 after the incident, gave a statement and cooperated with investigators. Neither alcohol nor speed contributed to the crash, Officer Rob Simmons said in a news release.

Pruitt died at Erlanger hospital, Kilgore said. It wasn't immediately known if he was wearing a helmet.

Students at Lookout Valley Middle/High School were told about Pruitt's death around 8 a.m., said Amy Katcher, communications coordinator for the Hamilton County Department of Education.

"[He] was well-known and well-liked," she said.

She said counselors were at the school Wednesday and that teachers tried to carry on "as normally as possible."

"Everyone is grieving and mourning," she said.

An online fundraising account set up to raise money for Pruitt's funeral garnered nearly $2,000 in donations Wednesday. Some students at Lookout Valley pledged to wear blue to school today in memory of the teenager.

"Words can not explain how sad I am," one girl wrote. "We lost a friend who was funny, smart, and fun to be around. JT was the most sweetest guy ever, I had two classes with him last year and he would always make me laugh."

There have been 20 traffic fatalities in Chattanooga so far this year, including one pedestrian who was struck by a vehicle.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com with tips or story ideas.

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