Driver who was hit by school bus is stable
A 51-year-old woman whose car was hit by a Pasco school bus Tuesday is in stable condition after having surgery at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, said Sgt. Steve Gaskins, spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol. There were two adults and an infant on the school bus when it collided with Julie Ann Black's 2001 Buick LeSabre just before 3 p.m. Tuesday at Bosley and Monteverde drives. Bus driver Ray Lucas, 68, of New Port Richey, student Jalina England, 17, of Hudson, and her infant Malina England, born June 6, all had minor injuries. The Florida Highway Patrol said the crash happened because Lucas ran a stop sign while headed south on Monteverde and collided with Black's car, which was headed east on Bosley. School officials say the bus was at the end of its daily route. Lucas, who has been with the department for more than a decade, was charged with failure to yield at a stop sign. When Lucas returns to duty, he will be reassigned until the department's internal investigation is complete, said Summer Romagnoli, spokeswoman for Pasco schools.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Procession honors fallen deputy
A motorcycle procession honoring Hernando Deputy John Mecklenburg, who died last month in a high-speed chase into Pasco County, will start at 10 a.m. Saturday at the WingHouse restaurant, 6515 U.S. 19. The charity ride, hosted by the Bubba the Love Sponge Foundation, will raise money for Mecklenburg's family. The route is about 50 miles long and may cause traffic delays throughout New Port Richey, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said. The procession will start at the restaurant and run through Main Street, Rowan Road, Massachusetts Avenue, DeCubellis Road, Moon Lake Road, State Road 52, U.S. 41 and County Line Road, before returning to the restaurant around noon. Several law enforcement agencies will control traffic Saturday.
Crime-fighting workshop Monday
The Pasco County Sheriff's Office will host a crime-fighting workshop from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 9426 Little Road. Sheriff Chris Nocco and his staff will talk about Intelligence-Led Policing and crime prevention, and will listen to residents' concerns about their communities and the Sheriff's Office service.
School upgrade programs fizzle
Two programs designed to give students at struggling public schools more academic options have not drawn much participation in Pasco County. An expansion of Florida's opportunity scholarship program this year opened the door for nearly 2,100 children to switch from their low-performing schools to other nearby campuses. Just 19 took advantage, district records show. Six transferred out of Lacoochee Elementary, three out of Hudson Elementary, one out of Marlowe Elementary and nine out of Gulf Highlands Elementary. Students at these schools plus 11 others also could have moved to higher-performing schools under federal No Child Left Behind rules. Only 128 families used that choice option this year. NCLB transfers have drawn limited numbers in Pasco during the years they have been available.