SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A 14-year-old boy is recovering after being hit by a car on Thursday morning while boarding his school bus.
It happened in Manatee County just north or State Road 70 in Myakka City. The student was crossing an intersection and now the 19-year-old driver is facing citations as well as a court date.
“I heard a big bang, and I saw a child fly in the air and hit the ground,” Lindsay McDaniels, a parent said.
It was a scary morning for McDaniels who witnessed the moment a car hit a 14-year-old boy near a bus stop.
“We just kept hollering at him, telling him ‘fight, you gotta fight,'" McDaniels said.
This happened around 6:25 a.m. at the intersection of Verna Bethany Road and Gopher Hill. Florida Highway Patrol officials say 19-year-old Josee Martin of Sarasota failed to stop for the bus despite its extended stop sign and flashing lights.
Two children were crossing at the time, but only the boy was struck.
“At this point of time, we feel certainly it was distracted driving, how do you see the bus but not see the lights,” FHP Trooper Kenneth Watson said.
The child was flown to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg with lower body injuries. Luckily, those injuries are non-life threatening.
Meanwhile, parents like McDaniels say this never happened before and are now concerned over the bus stop’s location.
“The first thing we need to do is to make sure our children are getting on the same side of the road as the bus," McDaniels said. "Then if not, then maybe a 15 mile per hour area, not a 55 mile per hour road in the dark.”
Florida requires all drivers moving either direction on a two way street to come to a stop when approaching a school bus with flashing lights and stop arms extended. The only time drivers do not need to stop is when there’s a raised barrier separating an oncoming school bus.
“When I found out he had to cross the street that’s asking a lot,” Linford Sommers, a parent said.
We did reach out to the school district about these concerns and they say buses cannot improvise and deviate from their assigned route.