At least 14 people have been struck by drivers at school bus stops across the United States in the last three days, leaving three Indiana siblings and two others dead.
Seven people were rushed to the hospital in Tampa, Florida on Nov. 1, after a driver struck students waiting at a bus stop. Two parents were among the injured.
None of the injuries are considered life-threatening, officials told ABC.
Witnesses said the driver was speeding before hitting the group. The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with the police. It wasn’t clear if he would be charged.
“At this time it does not appear that the crash was intentional and it does not appear that the driver was impaired. It is unclear whether the driver was speeding at the time of the crash, though a witness said he believed the car was traveling at a high rate of speed,” Tampa Police said in a press release.
Also on Thursday, a 7-year-old boy was found dead at a bus stop in Franklin Township by the school bus driver in an apparent hit-and-run. Investigators said that the child was struck by a vehicle.
“Investigators have ruled out that the child was struck by a passing motorist who then fled. Evidence has shown that the child was run over at a slow speed. A search warrant was obtained for a vehicle that was in the area at the time. The driver has been interviewed,” a Pittsburgh State Trooper statement said.
On Wednesday, a 9-year-old was killed in Marietta, Mississippi while crossing the street to board his bus. The driver of the pickup truck that struck him was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, facing dozens of years in jail if convicted.
Also on Wednesday, a kindergartner was struck while crossing the street to board a bus in Tallahassee, Florida. A 19-year-old man driving behind the bus realized too late that the bus was stopped, police officers told WCTV. The 5-year-old is expected to survive.
The rash of school bus accidents started in Indiana on Oct. 30, when a driver failed to recognize a school bus’s flashing lights and plowed into four children who were crossing the street from their mobile home park in Rochester to board a bus. The 24-year-old driver was charged with three counts of reckless homicide.
Three children, all siblings, died. The fourth child was airlifted to a hospital, underwent emergency surgery, and was expected to live.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (pdf), there were 1,172 school-transportation related fatal motor vehicle crashes between 2006 and 2015. During that time, an average of 131 fatalities per year were attributed to those crashes.
Officials investigating the accidents urged drivers to pay more attention, especially during the morning and evening rush hours, as did people related to the children hit and those who live nearby.
“Sadly it takes a reminder like this that our school buses do share the highways with us, do share the roads, in morning and evening traffic,” Mississippi Highway Patrol Master Sgt. Ray Hall told WCBI.
“You need to slow down,” Tallahassee resident Rail Guthrie told WCTV. “It doesn’t take five seconds out of your day to make the kids safe.”