WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) – Two children are among the three people who were critically injured Wednesday morning when the pickup truck they were in crashed into the back of a city bus in Winter Haven.
It happened at 9 a.m. on Highway 17 near Casey Avenue.
Investigators with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office say a Toyota Tundra was traveling south on Highway 17 when it hit the back of a Citrus Connection Bus, which had stopped to pick up passengers.
The driver of the pickup, Jaron Skipper, 36, was not wearing a seatbelt.
Seven-year-old passenger, Emma Skipper, was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected through the front windshield of the pickup truck.
Four-year-old passenger, John Skipper, was wearing a seatbelt, but suffered significant injuries.
All three victims were airlifted to Tampa General Hospital where they are listed in critical condition.
The sheriff’s office said that the three people in the pickup truck are relatives who live in Eagle Lake.
“It happened so fast and so quick,” said Calvin Edwards, a passenger injured on the bus.
“We didn’t know what happened. All of a sudden, wham. We just didn’t expect nothing like that… I got off the bus [because] I wanted to see how they were. Kind of wish I didn’t, though. I was just concerned how the kids were. The people in the truck. Because, the impact felt that bad on the bus. You can imagine what it was like in that truck.”
“I tell you, it just rips your heart out to see anyone significantly injured in a crash, but when it’s a child, man, it just gets to all of us,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
Four people on the bus were transported to Winter Haven Hospital with minor injuries and are expected to be released from the hospital on Wednesday. The bus driver was uninjured.
The crash closed the southbound lanes of Highway 17 for five hours.
No other details have been released.
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