1. News

Bus collision in Polk leaves students from Pasco Pepin Academies with minor injuries

The Florida Highway Patrol says this charter bus carrying students from Pasco County was involved in a collision on Friday. [Florida Highway Patrol]
The Florida Highway Patrol says this charter bus carrying students from Pasco County was involved in a collision on Friday. [Florida Highway Patrol]
Published May 17, 2019

LAKELAND — Two charter buses carrying students with disabilities from Pasco County collided Friday morning, sending 34 to a hospital with minor injuries, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The buses collided around the intersection of Rockridge and Dean Still roads in Lakeland at about 10:10 a.m., troopers said. They carried 91 children from Pepin Academies, troopers said, as well as seven adults.

The Highway Patrol gave this account:

The two late-'90s MCI buses were headed north on Rockridge Road, south of Deen Still Road, behind a 2007 Ford F-150.

Steven Collins, 43, of Lakeland was driving the Ford, which was towing a trailer.

Collins slowed to turn into a driveway, troopers said, but the trailer had defective lights.

Christopher Gasque, 53, the driver of the first bus, couldn't tell that the truck was slowing until too late and braked suddenly, troopers said.

The driver of the second bus, Michaela Stuckey, 56, didn't stop in time and drove into the rear of Gasque's bus, troopers said.

The injured students and three adults were taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

Pepin Academies serves students with learning- and learning-related disabilities.

Stuckey was cited for careless driving and Collins was cited for the defective lights, troopers said. The buses were operated by Support the Arts Foundation, based in Odessa, troopers said.

Contact Justin Trombly at Follow @JustinTrombly.


  1. The techniques are as varied as the costumes when Gasparilla parade-goers beckon for beads from the floats. [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times]
    We were warned. Now the pirates are here. Stay with all day for the latest reports.
  2. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    Police say a motorcycle and another vehicle collided on W. Boy Scout Boulevard Saturday afternoon. At least one person was killed.
  3. President Donald Trump points to the crowd as he arrives to speak during the annual "March for Life" rally on the National Mall, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) [EVAN VUCCI  |  AP]
    As the Democratic primary intensifies before the first contests to decide the nominee, Trump and his allies have issued a series of curiously favorable comments about Sanders.
  4. Officers later found an adult man with gunshot wounds in a car crash, but are still searching for the second man
  5. After a fire Saturday morning, a boat was left nearly unrecognizable [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
    The flames were visible from Gandy Boulevard. Nobody was injured in the fire
  6. Harrison Peters, Chief of Schools in Hillsborough County, has landed a job as superintendent in Providence, R.I. [HCPS  |  Handout]
    Peters will become a turnaround superintendent at a troubled district.
  7. “My body, my choice” was the rallying cry on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in the state Capitol, where abortion rights activists decried a fast-tracked bill that would raise the bar for minors seeking abortions. (AP Photo/Aileen Perilla) [AILEEN PERILLA  |  AP]
    Abortion supporters worry about Florida’s move toward parental consent and what may follow.
  8. In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. [AP]
    As Democrats finished their third day before skeptical Republican senators, Trump’s legal team prepared to start his defense, expected on Saturday.
  9. In this July 30, 2019, file photo, a Super Mario figure is displayed at a showroom in Tokyo. After months of being tight-lipped, Comcast executives on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, said the fourth park at Universal Orlando would be based on characters from Nintendo. [KOJI SASAHARA  |  AP]
    Universal Studios is building theme parks based on Nintendo video games across the world. Orlando is set to get its Super Nintendo World in 2023.
  10. People climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge stop under flags flying at half-mast as mark of mourning and respect in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, for three U.S. crew members of an aerial water tanker that crashed Thursday while battling wildfires in Australia. [RICK RYCROFT  |  AP]
    The deaths came during an unprecedented wildfire season that has left a large swath of destruction in Australia’s southeast.