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School Bus vs. SUV Accident: 48 Students Sent to Hospital for Precautionary Measures

By: Florida Highway Patrol; Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Florida Highway Patrol; Lanetra Bennett Email

Live Oak, FL - A school bus was rear-ended while kids were loading Wednesday morning. Four dozen Suwannee County students were sent to the hospital.

"Everybody was screaming." Says, 8-year-old Elijah Champion.

Elijah never made it to school Wednesday morning. Moments after stepping onto his school bus...an SUV crashed into the back of the bus.

He says, "I was trying to sit down, but, I was holding on the chairs and I fell back. The car was almost under the bus. My chest was starting to hurt and my ribs."

The crash happened in Suwannee County at Highway 90 and 74th Street around 7:30am.

Elijah's grandmother, Matoka Toole, says she watched Elijah and his brother and sister get on the bus.

Toole says, "As soon as I turned around, it had already happened. It was bad. It was really bad. I'm still concerned about the person that was in the vehicle. The car was tore up bad. You could see the air bag on the passenger side all bloomed out."

Authorities say all 48 kids on the school bus were taken to the hospital in Live Oak for precautionary measures. The driver of the SUV was air lifted to Shands Hospital in Gainesville in serious condition.

Lanika McQuay says her two daughters just barely missed being in the bunch. "We were running a few minutes late. I was trying to rush them to the bus stop. By the time we got down there, we saw the wreck had already happened."

Authorities say no children were seriously hurt. The school bus driver is also reportedly doing well.

Authorities say the SUV driver was 18-year-old Brandon Cunningham. The school superintendent says he is a senior at Suwannee High School.


Florida Highway Patrol Release

Suwannee County, FL - At 7:35 am on Wednesday morning, the Florida Highway Patrol responded to an accident involving an SUV and a school bus in Suwannee County, Florida.

Brandon J. Cunningham, 18, of Live Oak, Florida was driving a 2002 Chevrolet SUV in the eastbound lane of US 90. At the same time, a Suwannee County School Bus was stopped at the intersection of US 90 and 74th Street in the eastbound lane.

The School Bus's warning lights were engaged due to children boarding the bus. The children were all seated as the Chevrolet failed to slow, striking the rear of the School Bus. The 48 students on the bus were transported to Shands Live Oak for precautionary measures. The children attend various schools and range in age from elementary to high school students.

Cunningham sustained serious injuries and was air lifted to Shands Gainesville.

Charges are pending further investigation.


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