Channel 4 reports that a Bradford County school bus which was carrying 15 elementary school students was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer Monday afternoon near the intersection of U.S. 301 and State Road 201A in Lawtey. FHP said there were ten people transported to area hospitals: a man and woman in the big rig were taken to Shands Gainesville with critical injuries, and the seven children and the bus driver were taken to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities said the most serious injury among the children was a leg injury.
According to Sheriff Gordon Smith, the woman in the semi was not wearing any clothes. Witnesses said the semi was going about 60 mph when it struck the bus. The crash happened on U.S. 301 at State Road 200A, just south of Lawtey, at about 2:45 p.m. as the school bus was slowing to a stop when it was rear-ended by the big rig. The Sheriff’s Office said the bus driver saw the semi coming in the rear-view mirror and sped up, which may have minimized the impact. The sheriff said if the bus had already stopped to unload students, this could have been a tragic crash.
A witness told News4Jax that the big-rig driver did not hit his brakes before hitting the back of the bus. The FHP said dispatchers received a call about a reckless driver in a tractor-trailer on U.S. 301. Before they were able to catch up with the vehicle, the state and local sheriff’s office got a call about the crash.
Bradford County school officials said the bus was carrying students from Starke Elementary School.
Even though large semi trucks are important to our economy, accidents resulting from the reckless driving of semi trucks should not be. Unfortunately, semi truck wrecks resulting in serious injury or death are very common. According to a NHTSA report, there was a 3.7 percent increase in the number of people killed in crashes involving large trucks. Large truck multivehicle crashes increased from 2011 to 2012 by 18%. In 2011, there were 232 multivehicle accidents where large -trucks were involved and in 2012, there were 273.
We wish all those involved in this horrible accident a quick and speedy recovery.