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Truck hits school children boarding bus in Hardee

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HARDEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Three Hardee county children were hit by a truck as they boarded a school bus Thursday morning.

One had to be airlifted to Tampa for treatment.

It happened along highway 62 near commerce court in Wauchula.

At around 7:15 am, school officials say about a dozen kids were on Highway 62 boarding a school bus.

They were heading to Hilltop Elementary School.

At that moment, 69-year-old Louis Stephen was driving a pickup and didn't realize the bus had stopped. He confused the blinking lights with those flashing lights on Highway 17.

School officials say he couldn't swerve left because of oncoming traffic, so he swerved to the right and hit three children.

8-year-old Alexis Martinez and 6-year-old Savannah Williams were taken to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries.

The third victim, 9-year-old Caylin Morgan had to be airlifted to Tampa General Hospital with critical injuries.

A relative, Jerry Welch, is still shaken up by the accident.

He said, "What we've heard so far is a fractured skull, and a busted pelvis."

Savannah Williams' mother, Ciana Michel, says her daughter was pinned beneath the vehicle and suffered minor wounds on her leg.

Michel said, "Who wouldn't be angry? I know I was! I sure was. But there's nothing I can do about that, as a mother I was very upset and stuff."

Word spread quickly in this small town.

Hardee County Schools Deputy Superintendent Bob Shayman said, "We know all these kids. We taught the parents at my age, and we know each other. We see each other all the time, it's a small community. And when you hear about that something like that, even if I wasn't in this position, it's upsetting."

The bus was not damaged and no one else was injured.

The remaining children were later taken to school.

Shayman said, "It could've been a lot worse. It was dark. And in about a week and half, time changes, it'll be a lot lighter, which will help, but you cant be careful enough with kids getting on a bus."

The driver of the pickup has been charged with failure to stop for a school bus.


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