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Sarasota school bus driver cited in crash, kids say she was using phone

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SARASOTA COUNTY, FL -

The Sarasota Police Department says a school bus driver, 58-year-old Audrey Howe of Sarasota has been cited with Careless Driving after she was involved in a crash with a garbage truck and students on the bus say she was using her cell phone and possibly texting on or about the time of the crash.

Police say the crash happened at about 3:40 p.m. Friday at the intersection of Ringling Boulevard and Tuttle Avenue in Sarasota.

Officers say the garbage truck was stopped at the intersection of Tuttle Avenue and Ringling Blvd, stuck in traffic on a green light, and the school bus ran into the back of the truck.

A report released by SPD said two students said they saw Howe either texting or looking like she maybe texting someone prior to the crash. The report said Howe admitted to looking at her phone as a clock earlier in the route but denied using her phone in anyway just prior to the crash.

Police said the route supervisor said many drivers use their phones to monitor times during their routes.

The school bus had 25 children on board and several children were assessed for injuries by the Sarasota County Fire Department.

None of the children were taken to the hospital. . A passenger in the garbage truck was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital after complaining of back pain

The children were traveling on the bus from Gulf Gate Elementary School to the Boys and Girls Club at 3100 Fruitville Road, Sarasota.

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