Bus driver, but no students, hurt after car hits school bus in St. Petersburg

A car struck a school bus carrying St. Petersburg High School students at 3901 38th St. N on Monday. Witnesses said the car struck the driver’s side of the bus. The car’s driver was apprehended a few blocks away, a witness said.

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A car struck a school bus carrying St. Petersburg High School students at 3901 38th St. N on Monday. Witnesses said the car struck the driver’s side of the bus. The car’s driver was apprehended a few blocks away, a witness said.

ST. PETERSBURG — A car struck a school bus full of students at 3901 38th St. N on Monday.

There were about 20 children on the bus, according to Lt. Joel Granata of St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue, but none appears to have suffered any serious injuries.

The woman driving the bus was taken to St. Petersburg General Hospital with serious injuries, Granata said.

The crash occurred at 2:07 p.m. The collision caused the car to flip over and the bus to end up in a residential yard, just inches from a house.

The bus was transporting students from St. Petersburg High School. Some students were taken to a local hospital as a precaution, said Pinellas schools spokeswoman Andrea Zahn. The others were either released to their parents or taken home on another bus.

"It was just like a big bang," said Naje Dixon, 14, a ninth-grader who was on board. "I saw a tire on this side. A (crumpled) car over there. And a stop sign bent almost to the ground."

"We were on the bus, then all of a sudden, crash," said Chi Nguyen, 16, an 11th-grader. "People were screaming, scared."

Witnesses said the car, a blue Altima, was headed east on 39th Avenue N at a high rate of speed and did not brake before hitting the front driver's side of the bus.

The car's driver exited the passenger side window with blood on his face and ran away, said Charlie Humphries, who watched the crash from the front porch of his house at 3800 39th Ave. N. "He took off pretty good," he said. "I don't see how he did it. Adrenaline, I guess."

A police officer who was quickly on the scene followed on foot. Humphries followed the officer.

"After this morning," he said, referring to the two St. Petersburg police officers who were fatally shot, "I thought the last thing he needed was to be by himself."

Humphries said the suspect was arrested a few blocks away, after neighbors told police he was in an alley.

Police did not release the names of the people involved on Monday.

Times staff writer Jamal Thalji contributed to this report.

Bus driver, but no students, hurt after car hits school bus in St. Petersburg 01/24/11 [Last modified: Monday, January 24, 2011 10:00pm]

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