School Bus Kills Student
The school bus was making its usual rounds returning students home from Lake Butler Elementary, Lake Butler Middle and Union County High schools, when kindergartner Brittany Carney was run over just feet outside her home on Northeast 130th Terrace in Raiford. Florida Highway Patrol's Lt. Bill Leeper said they received the first 9-1-1 call at 3:19 in the afternoon.
"The bus driver thought she had walked in front of the bus and went to move forward, she felt a bump and struck the child," Leeper said. "The child was air lifted to Shands-U.F. in Gainesville where she was pronounced dead."
Five of Linda Barker's grandchildren were still on the bus when it hit Carney. Her grandson, Larry Gernat, said he did not realize what was happening.
"I put my head down, the next thing I know, it's all pandemonium," the Union County High School student said.
Barker said her 14-year-old granddaughter was not so lucky though, she was able to see the entire incident, but the school sent her and the 28 other students on the bus straight home afterwards.
"They put her on another bus and sent her home. She saw the child, she's very traumatized," Barker said. "The school did not offer her any comfort. They just ushered her onto another bus and sent her away."
Barker said her granddaughter also told her the arm on the front of the bus, a protective measure to keep children from walking too close to the front bumper where they cannot be seen, was not out.
Troopers said it will take two to three days to complete the investigation; no charges have been filed yet. The bus driver, Beverly Tyson, 38, was taken to Shands- Starke for observation.
Neighbors described Brittany as a "tom-boy" and said she will be deeply missed.
"I used to wave at her when she'd get on the bus and she'd wave back at me," Michael Thomas recalled. "She was just a precious little girl."
Parents said they hope this incident will not be in vain. They want to see changes right away, such as sensors on the front and back bumpers to alert drivers to objects in their path, for the safety of their children.
By Ted Latiak, WCJB TV 20 News
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