Teen driver: 'Didn't see the school bus'

Police say 18-year-old driver failed to stop at sign, hit bus

By Kumasi Aaron - Reporter/The Morning Show anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The 18-year-old who police say failed to stop for a sign and pulled in front of a bus carrying 40 students to Terry Parker High School on Tuesday morning claims 1) she stopped at the intersection, and 2) didn't see the school bus.

According to the crash report released by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, Rose Nizigiyimana was at wheel of the 2002 Honda Accord that entered the intersection of Lamson Street and Galveston Avenue just before 7 a.m. and was struck by a school bus.

Nizigiyimana and her sister, 16-year-old Ann Marie Mushimiyimana -- students at Englewood High School -- were both injured in the crash. Two girls on the bus were also hurt in the crash.

While none of their conditions were reported, Jacksonville Fire-Rescue described all the injuries were minor.

Surveillance video obtained by Channel 4 showed the car proceeding through the intersection without stopping. The report shows Nizigiyimana was cited with failure to yield right of way at stop sign.

"I've only seen it once and I don't want to see it again because I don't want to remember," Nizigiyimana said Wednesday as she was home recovering from her injuries.

Investigators said Nizigiyimana told them during an interview at the hospital Tuesday that she was not sure what street she was on, that she had stopped at the stop sign and that she "did not see the school bus."

She said she wasn't texting or talking on her phone -- it was put away. And she and her sister were both wearing seat belts.

She said her memory of the drive was clear, but she doesn't remember much of the accident.

"I just remember somebody taking me out of the car," Nizigiyimana said. "I didn't see anything; I didn't know what happened.  I thought I was dreaming. And then, after a while, I looked around and it was like, 'You got hit by a bus.'"

The bus driver, 51-year-old Annette Boyd, was not cited, but her employer, Student Transportation of America, says she was suspended while the crash is investigated.

"We are gathering all of the facts in this accident. Who is at fault will come out in this investigation," the company said in a statement. "We are thankful that there were no serious injuries to the students and bus driver involved."

A man who answered the door at Boyd's home on Wednesday said she was not suspended, and she was not home because she was out driving a bus on a different route.

Florida Division of Motor Vehicle records show Boyd has only received two traffic citations over the past 24 years.

Robert Willis, whose camera recorded the crash (pictured, left), said his fence has been hit four times by cars blowing through the intersection and something needs to be done to make traffic in the neighborhood obeys the law.

Residents of the neighborhood said one thing that could help is making the intersection a four-way stop.

Channel 4 safety analyst Ken Jefferson said parents need to reinforce with with teenage drivers to pay attention to their surroundings.

"Continue to pound into them the fact that they can't be distracted -- they've got to pay attention to the road. They've got to always have their seat belts on," Jefferson said. "They've got to be mindful of the other driver above everything else."

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