Bus driver denies using cell phone before minor crash

  • 1

SARASOTA - A school bus and a garbage truck collided in Sarasota on Friday.  And while none of the students were injured, several of them reported that the driver was using a cell phone at the time.  The driver denies it.

The crash happened around 3:40pm Friday at the intersection of Ringling Boulevard and Tuttle Avenue.  According to Sarasota Police, the garbage truck was headed northbound on Tuttle and stopped at a red light with the school bus directly behind it.

When the light turned green, the driver of the garbage truck started to drive forward but stopped quickly when he realized that there was not enough room to clear the intersection due to traffic on the other side of the intersection.

The bus driver also started to drive forward, but says she was distracted by students acting up in the bus and didn't see the garbage truck stop and crashed into it.

The school bus had 25 children on board.  Several of them were checked out by first responders, but none of the children were injured or taken to the hospital.

The children were traveling on the bus from Gulf Gate Elementary School to the Boys and Girls Club on Fruitville Road.

Children on the bus reported seeing the bus driver using a cell phone on or about the time of the crash, possibly texting. The driver told police that she was not using the phone at the time, but did admit using it earlier in the route as a clock.

The bus driver has been charged with careless driving.