CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – An 8-year-old died Thursday after troopers say the car she was in failed to stop and crashed into the back of a Citrus County school bus.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the school bus carrying 30 Citrus High School students was driving east on State Road 200 in Hernando. Troopers say the bus stopped at the intersection of East VFW Lane and activated its red stop lights to let students off.

A 75-year-old man driving a sedan behind the school bus failed to stop and crashed into the back of the school bus, according to troopers.

A release from FHP says the 8-year-old, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was injured during the crash and taken to a local hospital. The young girl later died from the injuries she suffered during the crash.


John Stewart, the chaplain at the VFW, says he arrived to find a large law enforcement response and a section of the road shut down.

“We’re so shocked coming out here, especially with all of us being war veterans sitting here and the things we’ve been through,” Stewart said. “To look out here and see what happened and found out it’s a child that passed away. Of course we were worried about the trauma of the kids on the bus, too.”

Stewart told 8 On Your Side an FHP trooper went inside the VFW hoping the security cameras might be able to assist their investigation.

“We tried to find it on our cameras that were pointing out here that would show us exactly what happened and right when the incident happened our cameras blipped and we missed it there was no way to get it,” Stewart said.

The 75-year-old man and a 10-year-old passenger in the sedan suffered minor injuries, troopers say. It is unknown if the 10-year-old was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.