On Wednesday morning in Highlands County, a tragic incident happened where a semi truck ‘rear ended’ a school bus that was transporting 39 students. The Florida Highway Patrol reported that five students along with a bus driver were injured in the crash.
The incident took place at around 7:50 am in the morning at the intersection of Lake Ridge Drive and U.S. 27. This was when a semi-truck struck the back of a school bus. As per the preliminary information received from FHP, the school bus stopped on the side to pick up children. Despite turning on the lights to indicate that the bus is not moving, the semi truck failed to stop and struck it from behind.
Out of the 39 students, two students needed immediate assistance thus were airlifted to the Tampa General Hospital as they faced serious school bus accident injury. On the other hand, three other students and the bus driver sustained mild truck accident injuries as well and were taken to a nearby hospital instantly.
The impact of the semi-truck rear end was immense resulting in the school bus to overturn onto its left side. The Florida Highway Patrol states that the semi truck driver was Stanley Lockwood, aged 45, and belong to Orlando. The driver was already issued with a ticket of careless driving before the incident took place.
Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Lake Placid said in a statement that they had to take care of 20 patients from the crash including the school bus driver. In addition, all of the 20 patients were released immediately after getting treated for minor injuries from the crash.
Parent of one of the students involved in the school bus crash, Christine Padilla, said in a statement “You see all the kids crying, all the kids were in shock. I thought I was going to lose her. It was scary; it happened so fast.”
Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Lake Placid further added that out of 39 students, only one student fastened the seatbelt. Hence, many students would have faced second impact injuries which could have been prevented if a majority or all of the students were wearing seatbelts.