Florida bus driver cited in fatal crash, but not charged
A bus driver involved in an accident that left one child dead and another 16 injured will not be charged, though he was cited for failing to yield at an intersection. A prosecutor said that the driver was "inattentive" at the time of the serious car accident, but explained that the offense did not warrant criminal charges. The citation carries a fine of $164.
While the bus driver was not found criminally liable for the accident, the family of the dead child has filed lawsuits against the driver's school district, as well as the driver of the other vehicle involved and his employer.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the accident occurred when the bus failed to yield to an oncoming sod truck, turning out in front of it and causing the two vehicles to collide. Although the bus was fitted with seat belts, not of all of the children on board were wearing them. Additionally, the FHP found that the child who was killed was wearing a belt, but that it "was not adjusted to fit a small child."
Another child injured in the accident had to remain in a medically induced coma for three weeks due to head injuries. That child's family has no doubt racked up huge medical bills.
Although the state has declined to file charges, the accident could result in changes to federal bus safety laws, pending the results of an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. A representative for the NTSB said the agency will spend a year determining whether the incident indicates a need for more stringent safety policies regarding school buses.
Source: TCPalm, "School bus driver in fatal March St. Lucie crash cited for carelessness," Elliott Jones, July 25, 2012