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Pickup truck driver faces multiple charges in school bus crash

ELLENTON — The driver of the pickup truck is facing multiple charges following a rear-end crash with a Manatee County school bus that sent two students to the hospital Friday night.

The school bus stopped at a set of railroad tracks at U.S. 301 North and 19th Avenue East about 10:06 p.m., according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The bus was carrying 53 seventh graders from Manatee School for the Arts home after a field trip to Epcot.

Florida school bus drivers are required by law to stop at railroad tracks and check for oncoming rail traffic before proceeding.

Two students were taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The pickup driver, Juan Hernandez-Lopez, 27, of Palmetto was charged with driving under the influence resulting in property damage/personal injury, failing to have a valid Florida driver's license, careless driving, and failing to have proof of insurance, the Highway Patrol reported.

Damage to the two vehicles was estimated at $5,000 each.

The accident caused blockage in the west-bound lanes of U.S. 301.

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