MIDDLEBURG, Fla. – The driver of one of three school buses involved in a chain-reaction crash Monday was cited for careless driving, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
The three buses were carrying a total of 100 students at the time of the afternoon crash at County Road 220 and Blanding Boulevard in Middleburg, the Clay County Sheriff's Office said.
According to FHP, the first bus stopped at a red light and the second bus came to a stop behind it. But the third bus did not stop, hitting the second bus, which then hit the first bus, troopers said.
Lisa Spinek, 42, of Middleburg, the driver of the third bus, was cited for careless driving, FHP said.
The students, who were leaving Wilkinson Junior High School on the buses, were evacuated onto the median, deputies said.
A handful of minor injuries were handled at the scene and 23 students were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment as a precautionary measure, said John Ward, Clay County's director of emergency management. All of the students taken to the hospital suffered minor injuries.
"School district transportation supervisors are on the scene, as well as Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Clay County Fire and Rescue. Students are being released to their parents on scene and other buses are standing by to take students home once FHP releases them from the scene," Lauren Bankert, spokeswoman for Clay County Schools, said following the collision.
According to 911 calls obtained by News4Jax, a man reported to dispatchers that one of the buses was speeding before the crash.
"Let me tell you a little something. This bus, the number of the bus is 05-591," the caller said. "It was speeding by me and that is why it crashed into the other bus."
One northbound lane of traffic on Blanding Boulevard was blocked until the scene was cleared.
Parents and guardians should anticipate contact from the Clay County School District about anything related to their child’s transportation home and/or any treatment of minor injuries at the scene or at nearby hospitals, deputies said.
The cause of the crash is under investigation by the FHP.