Several students, adults injured in school bus crash

Several students from a special needs school, a school bus driver and another driver were injured in a traffic crash involving a Sarasota County school bus Tuesday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

At 9:16 a.m. Tuesday, troopers were dispatched to Proctor Road and Gantt Road in Sarasota to an accident reported to have serious injuries.

Seven students, the bus driver and driver of the other vehicle involved were taken to local hospitals to be treated for their injuries, according to a news release from FHP.

The bus, with 12 students on board, was headed to Oak Park School, 7285 Proctor Road, Sarasota. Oak Park is a school for special needs in the Sarasota County School District, with students from Pre-K up to 22 years of age, according to the school’s district website.

The bus was heading east in the right lane of Proctor Road approaching Gantt Road with a green light, and a 69-year-old Indiana man driving a 2005 Infiniti G35 was westbound in the left turning lane, troopers reported. As the the bus was crossing through the intersection, the Inifiniti turned left crashing into the front left-side of the bus.

The vehicle crash caused the school bus to good off the road onto the shoulder and crash with a traffic light pole on the southeast corner of the intersection.

The seven injured students were all taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital to be treated for what were reported to be minor injuries. One of those seven child also suffered from a medical condition unrelated to the crash.

The driver of the bus, a 63-year-old Sarasota man, was taken to Doctor’s Hospital of Sarasota to be treated for his serious injuries.

The driver of the Infiniti was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital to be treated for his serious injuries. He was cited for making a left turn into oncoming traffic.

The injuries “were mostly bumps and bruises,” said Gary Leatherman, communications director for the Sarasota School District.

Parents of all of the injured students, except one, were at the hospital with their children, Leatherman said. Most of the damage resulted from impact with the power pole.

“We are very, very thankful that injuries to the students were not more serious. The safety restraints on the bus functioned as they should,” he said.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and Sarasota County Fire Department assisted FHP at the scene. Drivers were urged to avoid the area as Proctor Road and Gantt Road were closed at least partially for several hours.

Firefighters at the scene were working to stop a fuel spill from the school bus. Florida Power and Light also reported to the scene.

Jim Jones, Herald staff writer, contributed to this report.

Jessica De Leon: 941-745-7049, @JDeLeon1012