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Driver who hit Hernando school bus head-on may face DUI charge

WEEKI WACHEE — The driver of the car that slammed head-on into a school bus on County Road 550 Tuesday afternoon had a suspended license and may be charged with driving under the influence, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Michelle R. Sutton, 33, of Spring Hill was driving a 2006 Toyota coupe east at a high rate of speed and weaving in and out of the westbound lane before colliding with the bus near Mary's Fish Camp Road, an FHP report released late Tuesday states.

Sutton was taken to Oak Hill Hospital in serious condition. An emergency room nurse found a plastic bag containing about 18 grams of marijuana in Sutton's shorts pocket, according to a Hernando County sheriff's report.

Sutton, who was wearing a neck brace but was "coherent," told a deputy the shorts were her boyfriend's and she put them on before the accident, the report states.

Because she was being admitted to the hospital, the deputy gave Sutton a citation and notice to appear in court next month for possession of marijuana instead of arresting her.

The Highway Patrol charged her with reckless driving and driving with a suspended license, according to the report. A charge of driving under the influence is pending while officials await toxicology results.

A passenger in the car, 30-year-old Brian Snyder of Spring Hill, was flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg with serious injuries. Updates on both patients' conditions were unavailable Wednesday.

The bus was carrying about 30 students from Westside Elementary in Spring Hill at the time of the crash. Some students were treated on the scene for minor injuries, the FHP said.

Tony Marrero can be reached at tmarrero@sptimes.com or at (352) 848-1431.

Driver who hit Hernando school bus head-on may face DUI charge 10/14/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 8:06pm]
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