Two charter buses carrying nearly 100 Pasco County special needs students on a field trip to Orlando collided this morning, sending 34 of the students to the hospital.
Officials with Pepin Academies say 91 students from the Pasco campus and several adult members of the staff were on the two buses heading to Medieval Times in Orlando when the crash happened.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the two buses were driving on Rockridge Road in Lakeland behind a pickup truck. The pickup truck slowed down to turn into a driveway near Dean Still Road, but troopers say the trailer it was towing had defective lights.
The bus directly behind the pickup truck braked suddenly to avoid hitting the truck. The second bus couldn’t stop in time and hit the back of the other bus, troopers say.
School officials say no one was seriously injured in the crash. Troopers confirm 34 students were taken to the hospital for minor injuries or as a precaution.
According to FHP, seven adults were also on the buses. Three were taken to the hospital as well.
Pepin officials say at least 30 of the injured students were taken to the hospital by a Polk County school bus. Two were taken by ambulance.
School buses from Polk County Public Schools were also sent to the scene to take the rest of the students and staff to a nearby fire station so they could wait for replacement vehicles.
Troopers ticketed the driver of the pickup truck for improper/defective equipment. The driver of the charter bus that hit the back of the other bus was ticketed for careless driving.