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Bus crash slightly injures students

Five Tarpon Springs Middle School students complained of minor injuries Tuesday morning after their school bus rear-ended a car at Keystone Road and Richard Ervin Parkway, authorities said.

Bus driver Shetoya L. Thompson, 22, was cited for careless driving, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

An eighth-grade girl complaining of neck pain was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor, assistant principal Sandra Schneider said. None of the other 15 students aboard the bus went to the hospital.

The bus was heading west on Keystone Road about 9:20 a.m. behind a 2003 Volkswagen driven by Sharon A. Perrott, 26, of Trinity, troopers said. When Perrott stopped to turn left, Thompson failed to stop or slow down and rear-ended the car.

Thompson will undergo drug and alcohol tests, which is standard procedure for any bus driver involved in an accident, Pinellas County school spokesman Sterling Ivey said. Ivey said Tuesday he could not provide her driving history.

Troopers estimated that the accident caused $300 in damage to the school bus and $5,000 in damage to the Volkswagen, which had to be towed away.

Schneider, who went to the accident scene, said Thompson was driving one of 28 buses that normally deliver students to the middle school.

Parents were called, and one came to the scene to pick up a child. Because the parents of the eighth-grade girl who was injured could not be reached, she remained with paramedics, who took her to the hospital.

Meanwhile, the rest of students boarded a second school bus and were taken to the middle school's health clinic, where a nurse found them generally to be shaken but uninjured, Schneider said.

"Some of them were a little anxious, a little nervous. They had never been through something like that before," she said.