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News Story
Updated: 08/11/2017 08:30:03AM

SUV hits school bus on first day

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JAY MEISEL/STAFF Highlands County Superintendent of Schools Brenda Longshore comforts the driver of a school bus involved with another vehicle in Avon Park. No one was seriously injured.

JAY MEISEL/STAFF Middle School and high school children who were riding in school bus involved in an accident Thursday morning in Avon Park walk to a replacement school bus.

By JAY MEISEL

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AVON PARK — No one was seriously injured Thursday when a Highlands County School District school bus filled with secondary school students collided with a vehicle at 8:03 a.m. Thursday in Avon Park.

One child was transported to a hospital as a precautionary measure.

The Florida Highway Patrol said in a news release that the bus had 20 students, ages 10 to 18, and was headed to Avon Park high and middle schools.

The school bus was headed south on North Lake Avenue near West Monroe Street when a second vehicle turned left in front of the bus, FHP said. The school bus driver unsuccessfully tried to avoid hitting the second vehicle, a 2003 Honda Odyssey, authorities said.

Barry Beumel, 61, of Avon Park, the driver of the Odyssey, was charged with making an improper left turn and violating the right-of-way of a vehicle.

Theresa Welsh, 75, of Sebring, the school bus driver, and Vincenzo Ferrante, 58, of Avon Park, a second adult riding in the school bus, were not hurt, the release said. The right front of the school bus collided with the right front of the Odyssey, the news release said.

The school bus sustained considerable damage to the front. It was one of the older buses and the school district has a replacement for it, school officials said.

Superintendent of Schools Brenda Longshore comforted Welsh after the accident. Longshore said she was thankful no one was injured.

Welsh is an experienced driver with the school district, said David Solomon, director of transportation with the school district. He noted that Welsh did not receive a citation for the accident.

Ferrante, who has received training to become a new driver, was riding with Welsh as part of his orientation, Solomon said.

When a school bus accident occurs, school officials arrive at the scene, and wait until law enforcement arrives and they photograph the vehicles, he said.

They also notify a chain of command and get a list of the students on the bus, he said. They notify the principal of the school and parents of what happened, Solomon said.

In some cases they test the driver following the accident, he said.


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