Six students and their driver have been transported to Bayfront Health in Punta Gorda with minor injuries after their school bus crashed in Charlotte County.
The crash happened just before 9 a.m. on Jones Loop Road near US-41.
According to Charlotte County Fire and Emergency Medical Services, 24 students were on board when a utility van rear-ended the bus, which was headed to Punta Gorda Middle School.
The bus was stopped at a railroad track, which is required by law.
The driver and the six students received minor injuries.
The bus was damaged but was able to be driven away from the crash. The van was towed.
Another school bus arrived to transport the remaining, uninjured students to middle school.
The injured driver and six students remain in hospital care.
According to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s office, the driver of the van has been cited for failure to use care, punishable in Florida by a $179 fine and four points on one’s driving record if an accident occurred.
“Fortunately there were not any serious injuries. But at the end of the day, it was distracted driving,” said CCSO public information officer Claudette Bennett. “The fact that this was a school bus and there were kids involved, makes it a lot more traumatizing. We just always have to think that that could be our child on that bus.”
April is distracted driving awareness month and this reminder hits home.
“Always focus on driving, keep your hands on the wheel. Put your phone down,” Bennett said.