JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating after a boy was seriously injured jumping from the back of a moving school bus Tuesday afternoon near the corner of University Boulevard and Cruz Road.
Troopers say the Durham School Services bus was transporting about eight children with developmental disabilities when Ian Michael Galeza Flores, 11, of Jacksonville unbuckled himself, got out of his seat, opened the emergency exit at the back of the bus and jumped. The bus was traveling about 15 to 20 mph when it happened.
According to troopers, Flores fell on his head and was transported to Shands Jacksonville Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.
The driver and an aid were on the bus at the time and a tone sounded when the back door was opened on the bus. The adults turned around in time to see the boy jump.
The FHP says there was a camera on the bus and the video has been requested as part of the investigation.
"It's horrible. It's awful because you don't know what's behind the bus or if the bus was moving when he child jumped out. Yeah, that's scary," said Tracey Shafer.
Kathy Benoit and Tracey Shafer are both special needs bus drivers in Clay County. The two say it's very difficult to manage kids and drive, especially on special needs busses.
"It's different with special needs because sometimes kids don't have total concept of what they're doing, special needs kids sometimes don't understand consequences of their actions," said Benoit.
This isn't the first time a child has jumped from a bus. In May of 2012, a child jumped out of a bus and died.
At the Duval County School Board meeting Tuesday, Board Chairman Fred Lee said he had just learned about the accident.
"Our heart goes out to the student and hope they have a quick recovery. But that's all we know. All I know is that they got off the bus, fell off, jumped -- we don't know -- and the student was injured. That's all we know," said Lee.
The Duval County School district is investigating and a spokesperson with the Durham School Services said they "don't have further comment until a thorough investigation" is complete.
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