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Seven Remain Hospitalized in School Bus Crash

August 30, 1987

BRONSON, Fla. (AP) _ Seven people remained hospitalized in critical or serious condition Saturday as federal and state authorities investigated a school bus crash that left five children and their driver dead.

A bus carrying 19 learning-disabled and handicapped children and two adult aides was hit broadside by a flatbed truck that apparently failed to heed a stop sign, according to Florida Highway Patrol trooper Theresa Allen.

″From the point of impact it appears there was no skid mark - no deceleration at all,″ said crash investigator Chuck Bastik.

Truck driver Scott Allen, 26, will be charged with violation of right of way from a stop intersection, state trooper Virgil Sandlin said Saturday.

Sandlin said criminal charges may result from an investigation by the state attorney’s office. Allen was hospitalized with a broken leg.

A team of highway safety investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington arrived in Bronson Saturday to examine the wreckage.

″We’ll be looking at the bus to determine crash survivability factors. We would be looking at how well the safety standards worked - did the seat remain on the floor? Did the floor remain?″ said chief NTSB investigator Bob Barlett.

Killed in the accident were Benjamin Bennett, 4; Glenda Morrow, 6; Mathew Queen, 8; Tommy Thompson, 9; Charles Wilburn, 11; and Edith May Asbell, 59. All were from nearby Chiefland.

Helicopters and ambulances ferried away 17 injured victims, including the two aides and 14 children, to hospitals in the Gainesville area. Students were pinned in the mangled bus for as long as 2 1/2 hours after the 3 p.m. accident.

Hospital officials said Saturday that 14 were still hospitalized, three in critical condition, four in serious condition and seven in good or stable condition.

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