9-year-old twins, teen hit by pickup truck in Palatka

Author: Kumasi Aaron, Reporter, weekend anchor, kaaron@wjxt.com
Christopher Yazbec, News editor, News4Jax.com, cyazbec@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 13 2013 09:21:09 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 13 2013 08:53:40 PM EST
Bus stop crash scene
PALATKA, Fla. -

Nine-year-old twins and their 19-year-old babysitter were struck by a pickup truck while waiting at a school bus stop in Palatka on Friday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

State troopers said 75-year-old Doyle Elliott was driving northbound on State Road 19 at East Ranch Trail about 8:30 a.m. when his Toyota Tacoma hit a mailbox and then struck the three victims.

Troopers said the man may have had a medical emergency, causing him to leave the roadway.

The boy and the teen, Kayla Johnson, were flown to UF Health Gainesville in non-life-threatening condition. Family members said it appeared suffered broken bones.

The girl and the driver of the truck were taken to Putnam Community Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

Troopers said the twins were going to Kelley Smith Elementary School when they were hit.

The children's parents were notified and went to the hospitals.

Investigators were also at the hospitals talking to everyone involved and trying to piece together exactly what happened.

Family members said the twins would go out to the bus stop in front of their home every day to go to school. They said the spot is where the bus driver told the children to stand, and they've never had any issues until now.

"I just heard a loud boom. I come outside, and shortly after it was chaos," said neighbor Buck Player. "The one 9-year-old that I did see looked more scared than hurt. I'm sure she was hurting some, but I think for the most part she was OK."

FHP said safety at a bus stop is a concern, even though crashes like these don't happen often.

"I wouldn't say it's common, however, it is a possibility," Sgt. Dylan Bryan said. "That's why it's very important to be diligent and observant while standing or walking alongside of a roadway."

It's something Player said he's thinking about more now. His kids ride the bus and walk alongside the road, which has a 60 mph speed limit.

And after seeing several accidents there in the last year, Player said he's glad this one didn't end up worse.

"I'm blessed that for the most part they're OK, but it's just a scary feeling. It could have been my kids," he said.