Witnesses: Truck runs red light, hits school bus in Yulee

26 Wildlight Elementary students safe after crash on last day of school

YULEE, Fla. – The last day of school started off with a scare for students headed to Wildlight Elementary School.

Twenty-six students on bus No. 366 were on their way to school Friday morning when a truck hit their bus on State Road 200 at William Burgess Road. Troopers responded to the crash around 7:30 a.m.

Brad Underhill, transportation director for Nassau County schools, said witnesses reported the truck had run a red light before hitting the front of the bus as the bus moved into the intersection on a green light. The truck was visibly damaged from the crash.

Although troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol said injuries were reported in the crash, the school district confirmed the students and bus driver were not hurt. 

Ian Smith said his 7-year-old son was on the bus and was not injured but was shaken up, because it was his first crash.

"This is not how we wanted to end the school year, that's for sure," Smith said. "You worry about this kind of stuff all the time, as a parent, and when you're faced with it, it's very scary."

Smith praised school personnel for how they handled the crash, saying counselors were brought in to talk to the kids, if they needed them.

Part of SR-200 was blocked while the crash was under investigation.


Construction concerns

Major construction projects in the area have residents concerned about more crashes.

Mike Brown said that at times, navigating through the cones and crews can be distracting and confusing. 

"Sometimes when people turn out, you don't even know what lane to get in," Brown said. "It's just a mess. I don't see it getting better anytime soon."

The Yulee interchange project has been underway for more than a year and is a testament to how much Nassau County is growing.

When it's complete, it's expected to reduce crashes by 50 percent. It'll create six lanes with raised medians, curbs, gutters, sidewalks and bike lanes for 2 miles. 

With the construction expected to go on for the next couple of years, Brown's concern is that more crashes will happen.

"You’ve got to slow down," Brown said. "You've got to realize what you're dealing with. A lot of people don't do that."

For more on the interchange project, go to nflroads.com.

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