4-year-old among those killed in Wakulla County bus crash

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By: Associated Press
July 12, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Authorities say a 4-year-old was one of four killed when a bus carrying Haitian farmworkers and a tractor-trailer collided in Wakulla County over Fourth of July weekend.

Florida Highway Patrol officials identified the child as Widminio Dens Desire. 68-year-old Denise Medelus and Laurent Donneval were also killed on the bus. The truck driver, 55-year-old Gordon Sheets, of Copiague, New York, was also killed.

Authorities said the bus was carrying roughly 34 adults and children when it ran a flashing red light and stop sign before hitting the tractor-trailer. Both vehicles caught fire. About two dozen others were injured. An FHP report said authorities are investigating whether seat belts were used.

The farmworkers had just finished working in Bainbridge, Georgia, and were heading home to rest for a few weeks before heading to New England for apple and berry season.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
July 7, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- As of Friday evening, eight people remain hospitalized at Tallahassee Memorial from Saturday's bus crash in Wakulla County.

Three victims are in serious condition, three and in fair condition and two are listed in good condition.

The last patient at Capital Regional Medical Center has been discharged.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
July 7, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- As of Thursday afternoon, ten people remain hospitalized after a Saturday morning bus crash in Wakulla County.

Four victims are listed in good condition, three are in fair condition, and three are in serious condition.

The bus driver has been released from the hospital.

The crash occurred Saturday at the intersection of Woodville Highway and US 98. According to authorities, a bus carrying migrant workers ran a flashing red light and struck a semi-truck. The impact caused the vehicles to strike a power pole and catch fire.

Four people were killed in the crash, including a child and the driver of the semi-truck.


By: Lanetra Bennett
July 5, 2016

BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (WCTV) -- Several victims of a Saturday morning bus accident in Wakulla County remain hospitalized.

The bus involved in the accident was transporting more than 30 migrant workers from Bainbridge, Georgia to Belle Glade, Florida. Four people were killed in the crash, including a child.

Community members in Bainbridge, where the Haitian migrant workers had been staying, are saddened by the accident.

Many of the workers were staying at an apartment complex on Palm Street in Bainbridge.

Atlas Educational Services is right next door to the apartment complex. A teacher there, Irena Justice, said she does not know any of the workers by name, but said she's had only pleasant encounters with those who live next door to the summer camp.

She says they would help the kids at the center whenever a ball that the children were playing with went across the fence. She said the workers seem to watch over the kids.

Area residents say the workers involved in the crash would ride a an old school bus to go to work out in the cornfields in Bainbridge. Residents say they usually stay in town for about six weeks over the summer.

One woman said the group from the crash had been coming to Bainbridge for more than 10 years.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
July 5, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- More than a dozen victims of a Saturday morning bus accident in Wakulla County remain hospitalized as of Tuesday morning.

According to Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare, 12 patients from the crash still remain at the hospital. Of those 12, two are in critical condition, two are in serious condition, three are in fair condition, and five are in good condition.

Capital Regional Medical Center says that two patients remain at their hospital. One is listed in good condition and another is listed in fair condition.

The bus involved in the accident was transporting more than 30 migrant workers from Bainbridge, Georgia to Belle Glade, Florida. That's a community located in Palm Beach County near Lake Okeechobee.

Troopers say the bus ran through a blinking red light and was struck by the semi at the intersection of Woodville Highway and US 98. The wreckage carried into a power pole and caught fire.

Four people were killed in the crash, including a child. The driver of the truck was also killed in the accident.

Officials say that 24 people were initially hospitalized due to the crash.

A second bus carrying workers had pulled off of the planned route in order to get gas.


By: Julie Montanaro
July 5, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- We are learning more today about the intersection where a semi-truck and a bus full of migrant workers collided Saturday.

Four people died in the fiery crash at the intersection of Highway 98 and Woodville Highway.

14 remain hospitalized, including two in critical condition as of Tuesday morning.

A DOT spokesman says there have been 13 crashes at the intersection in the last five years, but none has been fatal until now.

DOT spokesman Ian Satter says as many as 3500 people a day pass through the intersection.

The speed limit there is 45 miles per hour.

Satter says there’s a flashing red light, stop signs, warning signs and rumble strips alerting northbound and southbound traffic. Eastbound and westbound traffic, Satter says, encounter a flashing yellow light.

Satter says a traffic study done at the intersection in 2011 resulted in an additional turn signal - for southbound traffic headed west on US 98.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
July 3, 2016

WAKULLA, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Florida Highway Patrol is now saying that there were 4 fatalities in Saturday morning's bus crash in Wakulla.

In an official press release, the agency retracted the earlier death toll. The report also says next of kin notifications are still pending for two of the fatalities.


By: Erika Fernandez
July 2, 2016

WAKULLA, Fla. (WCTV) -- Residents in the area were woken up to a brutal scene this morning in an area that's been known for accidents. Many are saying this one of the most traumatic events at that intersection.

Fire officials were on scene for hours trying to extinguish the flames from the accident that shut down the roads. Residents in the neighborhood were even left without power for most of the day as crews cleared up the wreckage.

Shelby Mosley says she heard a loud boom near her home Saturday morning. When she walked outside, the scene of the crash looked like it came straight out of a movie.

"It was mainly blood that I saw, but one dude had blood all over his clothes, one woman had a gash in her forehead about an inch deep," said Mosley, who rendered aid to some of the victims after the crash.

Blood and smoke filled the intersection of Woodville Highway and Highway 98 in Wakulla County. Fire officials worked tirelessly for hours to clear the scene.

"I’ve gotta give praise to our deputies, they went on this bus and started pulling people off before the bus became fully involved,” said Wakulla County Sheriff, Charlie Creel. “We would have had more if it hadn’t been for the efforts of our deputies."

Five lives lost and 25 injured; A scene that most are trying to forget and are in disbelief that it happened so close to home.

"It’s heartbreaking actually. So knowing that all them people lost their lives and a lot of people just got hurt,” says local resident, Holli Fulgham, “It's traumatic."

Other residents say this isn’t the first time a major accident has happened at this intersection. Folks like Mosley have been saying for years that something has to change.

"I feel like they should put a stoplight, not a caution light, like a red light. Because it’s not helping at all with just a caution light," Mosley said.

"Put stoplights up. I mean, it'll make it way safer," says neighborhood resident, Michael Harrell.

This, a plea from residents to hopefully avoid tragedies like this in the future.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
July 2, 2016

WAKULLA, Fla. (WCTV) -- We now know the identities of the drivers in the crash.

The driver of the truck, 55-year-old Gordon A. Sheets, died as a result of his injuries.

56-year-old from Elie Dupiche of Belle Glade, Florida, was the driver of the bus. He is currently at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital in critical condition.

21-year-old Rafael Nieves, passenger in the truck, did not suffer any injuries.

The bus was transporting about 34 people at the time of the crash. Both vehicles are a total loss.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing. Crash investigators are in the process of identifying the names of the passengers.


Updated by: WCTV Eyewitness News
July 2, 2016 - 10:30 a.m.

WAKULLA, Fla. (WCTV) -- More details are being released in Saturday morning's crash between a bus and semi truck.

Officials say 24 people were transported to a hospital for treatment. Seven of them are in critical condition. Officials say one person was uninjured in the crash because they were, "asleep in the sleeper of the trailer."

Deputies say the driver of the semi is one of the five people dead. First responders were able to pull two of the deceased out of the bus before it became fully engulfed. They continued to pull people out of the burning bus. They say that some people on the bus fled on foot after the crash happened.

Officials say that the former school bus was traveling from Bainbridge, Georgia to Belle Glade, Florida where they were going to work.

The intersection of Woodville Highway and Highway 98 is completely closed down to traffic, and will not be passable for at least six hours.

We'll continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
July 2, 2016

WAKULLA, Fla. (WCTV) -- We are now learning new details about Saturday morning's fatal crash.

According to the Wakulla County Sheriff, the bus ran a flashing red light and was struck by a semi truck.

The vehicles hit a power pole and caught fire. Officials had to shut off the power in the area in order to put out the blaze.

Power can't be restored until the vehicles are cleared.

Five people were killed including four people on the bus and one in the semi truck. One of those killed was reportedly a child.

The bus was traveling from Georgia and filled with Haitian migrant workers.

The Sheriff says this may be the worst crash that the county has had.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
July 2, 2016

WAKULLA, Fla. (WCTV) -- At least 5 people are dead after an early Saturday morning crash in Wakulla County. Deputies say one of those confirmed dead is a child.

25 people have been taken to the hospital.

There is still a chance of more trapped inside vehicles.

Roads remain blocked off.

If heading to the Saint Marks area, head to Newport cut off and go around.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
July 2, 2016

WAKULLA, Fla. (WCTV) -- A serious accident between a bus and a semi truck occurred around 5 a.m. Saturday morning.

Serious injuries have been reported.

Power lines are down and the area has been blocked off.

Coastal Highway at Woodville Highway has been blocked off and will continue to be blocked off as crews work the scene.

WCTV has a crew headed to the scene and will bring you the very latest both on air and online.



 
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