10 injured in Sarasota Co. school bus crash

Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office photo

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Sarasota school bus was involved in a horrifying accident on Proctor Road.

At 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, a bus was traveling east on Proctor Road when a red Infiniti made a turn and slammed into it.

The bus then careened off the road and crashed into a traffic pole. At the scene, the traffic lights could clearly be seen sitting on top of the bus.

“I heard it and it was a very large crash, it wasn’t the usual noises you hear on this road,” said witness Linda Schubert.

On board were 12 special needs students, varying in age from elementary school to 20 years-old. They were headed toward Oak Park School.

Seven students were taken to area hospitals, along with the bus driver, 63-year-old Danny Dunn, bus attendant 60-year-old Christine Dunn, and the driver of the Infiniti, 69-year-old Michael Rans.

Other students were either picked up by parents or transported to the school.

Since these students had special needs, some were non-verbal, which made it difficult for first responders to assess them. School district officials and bystanders helped out.

“They were all assigned with one or two students who were non-verbal, because some of the stimuli that was going on at the scene, the sirens the people talking, the responders, all of that was a lot for some of my students who were nonverbal,” said Oak Park School Principal Edwina Oliver.

“That makes it very difficult to do our triage and our assessment on those patients, some of them were nonverbal, so we wanted to make sure that we gave them the care they deserved and we wanted to make sure that we did a very good assessment on them. But, that is a difficulty for us, to deal with patients who can’t speak,” said Sarasota County Fire Department Chief Michael Regnier.

Officials said everyone’s injuries were non-life threatening.

“I saw a few kids with their parents, you know, walk away. I did see a couple on a stretcher but they were, you know, sitting up, so I assume that they were just shaken up, but okay,” described Schubert.

After the accident, crews had to shut down power to the area to prevent the leaking fuel from catching fire.

Two local schools had their electricity temporarily shut off while the mess was cleaned up.

All the students that were being treated at Sarasota Memorial Hospital were evaluated and released.

Troopers said the driver of the red car, 69-year-old Michael Rans, could possibly face charges.

“At this point in time with our preliminary investigation, it does appear that they violated the right of way of the school bus, so yes there is a civil infraction that is pending,” explained Trooper Kenn Watson.

 

A traffic light could be seen on top of the school bus after the crash.

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