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Ten people, including eight Wesley Chapel students, hurt as day care bus, car collide

WESLEY CHAPEL — Ten people, including eight children, suffered minor injuries and when a day care bus collided with a car Friday afternoon.

The bus was coming from Double Branch Elementary to Kids R Kids when the accident happened about 4:10 p.m. at State Road 56 and Mansfield Boulevard.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the day care bus was headed west on SR 56 when driver Crystal Ann Sithong, 39, tried to turn left onto Mansfield. When she did, the bus collided with a 2006 Chrysler that was headed east. The impact crushed the front of the Chrysler and pushed the bus over onto its left side, the FHP report said.

The driver of the Chrysler, whose name was not released, was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital with serious injuries. The accident remained under investigation Friday.

Sithong was taken to Florida Hospital Tampa. The children were taken to local hospitals for evaluation, the FHP said.

All 24 children on the bus attended Double Branch. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, they ranged in age from 5 to 10.

Drivers who saw the wreck stopped to assist when they saw the smashed car and overturned bus.

"I saw it, but it happened so fast that I couldn't tell you how it happened," said Pam Mueller, a speech therapist at Muller Elementary who was driving in the area with her 9-year-old daughter, Kate. Mueller immediately got out of the car and started pulling kids out through the rear emergency door. Other drivers also stopped to help. She said a couple of kids were stuck in seat belts.

Aaron Beardsley, a freshman at Wiregrass Ranch High School, was leaving weight lifting practice with his mom, Julie, when they saw the bus.

"There were kids all coming out," Aaron said as he held an umbrella to shield students from a light rain that had begun to fall. Many were crying.

Beardsley and his mother, as well as other passers-by, stayed with the kids on the sidewalk until help arrived. Several were wrapped in towels and held ice packs as crews treated them.

A woman who identified herself as the director of Kids R Kids declined to comment.

The bus sustained $5,000 in damage, while the Chrysler sustained about $8,000, the report said.

Ten people, including eight Wesley Chapel students, hurt as day care bus, car collide 02/21/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 21, 2014 9:58pm]

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