A logging truck slammed into the back of a school bus Monday afternoon in Starke, Fla., sending seven children and the bus driver to the hospital. At least one of the children on the bus was seriously injured.
The crash occurred just after 2:30 p.m. on U.S. 301 just south of the Lawtey community in Bradford County. Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith told First Coast News that the bus driver told authorities she noticed in her rear view mirror that the truck was failing to slow down so she released the brake and stepped on the gas in an attempt to avoid the collision.
The Florida Highway Patrol reported that its dispatch had been taking calls from witnesses saying the truck was driving erratically when the crash occurred. Witnesses said the driver never applied the brakes as it headed toward the school bus.
The driver of the truck, Shannon Sherrell Ford, 35, faces charges in connection with the crash. His wife, Sherry Ford, 34, was also in the vehicle and had no clothes on when emergency responders reached the crash site. Both Mr. and Mrs. Ford were taken to a local hospital with injuries.
According to First Coast News, at 12:15 the same day, a sheriff’s deputy pulled Mr. Ford’s truck over in Nassau County and called the Florida Highway Patrol to assist in an inspection, which found a number of safety violations but nothing serious enough to put the truck out of service.
The driver, however, has a long police record that show he has been arrested at least 10 times in Putnam County, Fla., since 2005. According to First Coast News, charges against Mr. Ford include grand theft, burglary, domestic violence and, most recently, shoplifting.
The FHP told First Coast News that the truck belongs to Mo’s Trucking of Palatka, Fla., but the station could not locate the company’s business registration nor contact its owner.