Pickup slams Armwood school bus

Thonotosassa, FL-- A school bus was rear ended on its way to school Thursday morning.

The accident caught the neighborhood's attention.

Parents were overwhelmed with worry and people like Michael Reynolds who witnessed the aftermath said that it could have been a lot worse.

"I heard a big crash, opened the front door and that pick-up truck had run into the back of the bus," said Reynolds. "As soon as I opened the door and saw what was happening, I turned to my son and said 'Where's my phone?' I called 911."

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue said that the Armwood High School bus was heading southbound on Mango Road and carrying 21 students when it was rear-ended by a pick-up truck.

The bus driver and 14 students were transported -- many on stretchers -- to Florida Hospital Tampa and treated for minor injuries. The other students were picked up and brought to school on another bus.

Billy Watkins has a child at Armwood High and described what he woke up to Thursday morning:

"Fire trucks. There's police workers all over the place, getting the kids out of the bus and I'm [thinking], 'Oh that's great, it's probably my kid's bus,'" said Watkins. "But it wasn't... it was the one before it."

Watkins explained that he's always had concerns about his child's safety at the bus stop, and admits this accident doesn't come as a surprise.

"People fly through here 90 miles an hour, from that Stop sign down there to that Stop sign down there. People gun it to the floor," said Watkins. "There's been people that come out here in the morning, they've almost gotten hit."

As of 12:20 p.m., all students had been released from the hospital. The driver of the pickup truck initially refused medical treatment, but we've been told family members ended up taking him to the hospital as a precaution.

The driver of the pickup truck hit the bus after he dropped and spilled a cup of coffee. When he leaned over to puck up the cup he was momentarily distracted and by the time he looked up, it was to late to avoid hitting the back of a Hillsborough County School bus carrying 20 students.

The driver was charged with one count of Careless Driving and one count of Failure to Wear a Seat Belt.


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