SARASOTA, Fla. -- The intersection of Proctor and Gantt roads reopened 5 hours a Sarasota school bus with 12 special needs kids traveling east on Proctor Road collides with a car turning left.
“The front of the bus struck the front side of the vehicle spinning it 360 degrees … rests in the center of the intersection,” says Trooper Kenny Watson of the Florida Highway Patrol.
The bus then hit head-on a traffic light pole knocking it down and the light landed on the bus’ roof top.
Despite the wreckage, doctors at Sarasota Memorial Hospital say there were only minor injuries. EMS transported 10 patients including 7 of the 12 special needs kids on the school bus heading for Oak Park School. All but two patients had been released by the afternoon.
“The passenger car violated the school bus’ right of way,” says Watson.
10News WTSP did some checking and found there have been three major crashes -- two with injuries -- at this intersection of Proctor and Gantt both in 2015 and 2016. But does that make this a dangerous intersection?”
Watson says, “This is not a dangerous intersection.”
Do the number of major crashes and injuries reason enough to make changes at the intersection?
“There are no changes to be made to this intersection. It is as safe as we can make it,” says Watson. He adds, “Not only do we have traffic signals but we have stop signs. We also have little shrubbery blocking everything. The intersection is open everyone should be able to navigate it safely.”
So then what’s the reason for an accident like this one that sent 10 people including 7 special needs students to the hospital?
Watson says, “Witness says it appears the passenger car didn’t see the bus turned directly in front of them. What we need to do is educate the public. They need to have good space awareness when approaching intersections. It’s about putting the cell phone down, not have conversations in the car paying attention and having both hands on the wheel.”