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Osceola Middle School sixth-grader hit by car after getting off school bus

SEMINOLE — An Osceola Middle School student was injured Wednesday afternoon when a car passed her stopped school bus as she was exiting and hit her, Florida Highway Patrol troopers reported.

The accident happened about 3:30 p.m. at 81st Avenue N and Ridge Road. The girl, 12, was taken by ambulance to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg with injuries that did not appear life-threatening, officials said.

"It appears the child is going to be okay," said Osceola principal Bob Vicari, who came to the scene of the accident.

A trooper issued the driver, Taygeti Rigakos, 69, of Seminole, a traffic citation for passing a stopped school bus that had its lights activated.

Vicari said the student, whom troopers identified as Jacqueline M. Jeffery, is in sixth grade. She was in stable condition Wednesday evening. "Everybody loves her," Vicari said.

District and Highway Patrol officials said the bus had its "stop" arm out and its flashers on when the accident happened.

The girl was toward the end of a line of about 10 students getting off at the stop, which is in a residential area and a no-passing zone. She had just cleared the front of the bus when she was struck by Rigakos' 2003 Chevy sedan.

Four other students were still on the bus and witnessed the accident, Vicari said.

According to Pinellas County records, Rigakos completed a defensive driving course in 2003 after receiving a citation for failing to yield. She also paid a fine in 2000 after pleading no contest to leaving the scene of an accident. Adjudication was withheld in that case.

Times staff writer Ron Matus contributed to this report. Kameel Stanley can be reached at kstanley@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8643.

Osceola Middle School sixth-grader hit by car after getting off school bus 02/03/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 10:54pm]
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