[UPDATE] Gadsden Co. Mourns Student Killed In Bus Crash

By: Eyewitness News Email
By: Eyewitness News Email


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UPDATE 12-15 By La'Tasha Givens

Dee Dee Murray would have turned 18 years old this past Monday, and her parents say when they should have been celebrating a milestone in their daughter's life, they are still waiting on justice to be served for her death.

"It stunned me, it took me for a loop. I couldn't even make it back to work. I cried, I thought I was going to have a panic attack." Gwendolyn Streeter is talking about the completed report into the accident that caused her daughter's death.

"It was so horrible to actually hear the report that simple. That was a simple report and it was a simple cop out," says Streeter.

Her 17 year old daughter Dee Dee Murray was killed in a school bus crash in Gadsden County in March.

Parents of other students on the bus fought back tears during a press conference held Wednesday afternoon in response to the Florida Highway Patrol Homicide report.

The bus driver, Timothy Kelly was cited for two traffic violations, careless driving and for not wearing a seat belt.

Ben Crump attorney for the some of the families says, "A driver ran an entire big school bus full of children off the road. Why isn't that reckless? Why isn't that reckless?"

Crump says Kelly was a known diabetic and became insulin dependent at one point. The report states his... "annual physical showed his diabetes was under control but did not indicate if he was no longer insulin dependent."

School officials say it is illegal for a bus driver to work for the district if they are insulin dependent.
The report also states on the day of the accident Kelly "...driver told dispatch he was not felling well and dispatch told him to finish his route."

The families attorney says they want someone held accountable for Kelly being permitted to drive a school bus. Attorney Ben Crump says they are asking the State Attorney to reopen the investigation and hold someone responsible for the deadly crash.

A spokesperson for Gadsden County schools told us this afternoon they still have not made a decision on whether Kelly will keep his job. They say he has been on suspension since the accident

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[UPDATE] 12-15 10AM --

Parks & Crump Law Firm Statement:

TALLAHASSEE, FL –

The parents of De’Sherrime (Dee Dee) Murray will make a statement regarding the recently released traffic homicide report involving the death of their daughter. They will speak at a press conference at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 15, 2010, at the Parks & Crump Law Firm located at 240 North Magnolia Drive in Tallahassee. They will also address the State Attorney’s decision not to file vehicular manslaughter charges against the bus driver who crashed the school bus. Parents of other students who were seriously injured in the crash will join Dee Dee’s family at this press conference.

Stay with WCTV.tv for details.

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UPDATED By Candace Sweat 12/9 at 6:30pm

Timothy Kelly was the behind the wheel of this school bus on March 8th when it veered off the road and crashed into a tree sending 17-year-old Dee Dee Murray through the windshield, and ultimately killing her.

The tragedy sparked a 9-month investigation by the Florida Highway patrol which is now complete.

"We concluded that the driver of the vehicle was driving the bus in a careless fashion and was not wearing his seat belt, and subsequently was charged with those two infractions," said Captain Welch with Florida Highway Patrol.

Kelly will have to appear in court for those two infractions. However, the State Attorney's Office concluded that there is no evidence that would support criminal charges.

"They are only charging him with careless driving and not wearing a seat belt, which is disheartening to the parents of Dee Dee Murray and to the 50 parents on the school bus who thought that there would more charges to hold somebody accountable for this tragedy," said Attorney Ben Crump.

Murray's family had already filed an intent to sue the Gadsden County school board six months ago. Crump says criminal charges against Kelly would have a huge implication on the civil suit. But even without those charges, he's confident in what the outcome will be.

"The jury will get an opportunity to decide what happened here and hold the appropriate people responsible for the death of Dee Dee Murray," said Crump.

Crump says it's possible that the family will want to speak with the state attorney about his decision.

But assistant state attorney Frank Allman says unless more evidence come forward it is unlikely that criminal charges will ever be brought against Kelly.

The Gadsden County Superintendent is reviewing the charges and will make a recommendation to the school board to determine if Kelly will keep his job.

WCTV spoke with Kelly by phone. He is not ready to talk on camera, but says he's relieved that he's not facing criminal charges, but he is still bothered by the ordeal.
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[UPDATE] 12-9 11:35AM --

The attorney for the family of a girl killed in a Gadsden County school bus crash earlier this year says they are disappointed with the Florida Highway patrol's investigation. FHP released their report this morning.

The Florida Highway Patrol has completed its investigation into the fatal crash and the report has been reviewed by the State Attorney's Office.

On March 8th 2010, the school bus carrying 56 school children crashed on County Road 269A, in Gadsden County.

17-year-old DeeDee Murray was killed in the crash and bus driver Timothy Kelly was injured.

FHP says Kelly has been issued two traffic citations for infractions committed during the crash. He was cited by the investigating trooper for careless driving and for not using the safety belt.
These are non-criminal moving violations.

Eyewitness News spoke with the attorney for Dee Murray's family who says they are disappointed with the citations and believes Kelly should face criminal charges. Assistant State Attorney Frank Allman tells Eyewitness News no criminal charges are supported by the evidence.

A spokesperson for Gadsden County Schools says the school board will vote Tuesday on the status of Kelly's job as a bus driver for the county. He has been on suspension since the incident.

Reporter Candace Sweat spoke with Kelly about 15 minutes ago. He is not ready to talk on camera, but says he's relieved that he's not facing criminal charges, but he is still bothered by the ordeal and is waiting for more information to unfold.

We'll have more tonight on Eyewitness News.

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[UPDATE] 12-9 10:15PM --

FHP Release:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - On March 8, 2010 at 3:09 p.m., a Gadsden County school bus carrying 56 school children crashed on County Road 269A, 1 mile north of Baldwin Road in Gadsden County. The bus was driven by Mr. Timothy D. Kelly of Gretna, FL. One passenger died as a result of the crash.

The Florida Highway Patrol has completed its investigation and the report has been reviewed by the State Attorney's Office. Mr. Kelly has been issued two traffic citations for infractions committed during the crash. He was cited by the investigating trooper for careless driving and for not using the safety belt. These are non-criminal moving violations.

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[UPDATE] 11-11 12:50PM --

The Florida Highway Patrol has wrapped up its preliminary investigation into the bus crash that killed 17-year-old Gadsden County girl Dee Dee Murray.

On March 8th, the school bus carrying almost 50 students crashed into a tree, killing Dee-Dee and injuring several others.

The bus driver, Timothy Kelly, was in a coma for weeks afterward and put on paid suspension.

FHP has turned its report over to the State Attorney's Office for review. There is no word yet on what is in that report. Those details will not be released until the State Attorney's Office completes their review. We expect that to happen sometime next week.

In the meantime, the West Gadsden High School Girls’ Basketball team will also be celebrating De’Sherrime Murray life with the De’Sherrime Murray Memorial Tip-Off Classic on November 12-13 beginning at 4:30PM. The highlight of the event will be to officially retire De’Sherrmine’s jersey, #22, and to dedicate the entire 2010-2011 basketball season in her honor.

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Updated 5:20 pm 3-10

"I think her personality alone is something you'll never ever forget, none of us will."

A star athlete with a fun loving personality. Classmates remember De'Sherrime Murray's bright smile as they celebrate her life.

A forward on the school's basketball team, De De, as friends called her, had a bright future ahead of her, and was even talking about playing ball in college.

"She was the leader on the team, she was the one when you're down she'll bring you up with the different laughter that she has, or if we lose a game and we down she'll make it better saying maybe next time, but at least we led what we had on the floor," says Tasherica McMillon, one of De De's teammates.

"She was the life of my party, she was just the best thing to happen to me ever since I've been coaching. I can honestly say that she changed me," says the coach of the Lady Panthers Stephanie Tolbert.

Those who knew her say she always brought everyone's mood up, and was willing to lend a helping hand.

"We talked about De De's fun loving, vivacious personality and the kind of person she was and I think she would want them to carry on and be strong," says Superintendent Reginald James.

"We're grieving but everybody has come together and now we're ready to push forward, and leave it on the floor as De De always says," says Jerome Maples, one of De De's classmates.

"We alright, we gonna be OK, we gonna be OK, as a team, as a school, we gonna be OK," Coach Tolbert adds.

The Lady Panthers will be dedicating the rest of this season and all of next year's basketball season to De De, by wearing armbands with her number, and retiring her jersey.

De'Sherrime's family is still at TMH, with her sister, who is recovering from a surgery she underwent this morning.

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A community is in mourning after the death of a local girl injured in a school bus crash in Gadsden County.

School officials are celebrating the life of West Gadsden High School junior De'Sherrime Murray with a memorial service Wednesday.

She was a star player on the school's basketball team and her coach says she was a spirited and talented player with a bright future.

Murray was was ejected through the bus' windshield when it crashed into a tree outside of the city of Chattahoochee Monday.

Murray died Tuesday after being in critical condition at TMH.


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