Last Updated: 4:23 p.m.
A car rear-ended the Elk school bus at 8:15 this morning at Pine Grove Drive and Pittman Drive in Palm Coast. The driver of the car was shaken up but not seriously injured. None of the 19 students aboard the bus nor the driver were injured, a school district spokesperson said.
“He had his yellow flashing ambers on, and stopped, about to go red,” the district’s Jason Wheeler said of the bus driver, when the car, a Kia Optima, rear-ended the bus. The car sustained heavy front-end damage, the bus sustained light damage to its bumper. The collision was not so serious that anyone in the bus fell out of seats.
The driver of the Kia was Meghan Wilsey, who turned 23 last week, a resident of the P Section. “She was not paying attention at the time when she struck the school bus,” a Flagler County Sheriffs’s spokesman said: she had been eating a granola bar. Pices or crumbs had fallen on her clothing. She was brushing off the crumbs, and that moment of inattention proved just enough time to lead to the collision.
Wilsey was cited with careless driving.
“The student at Pittman didn’t leave the bus stop, they stayed right there. Kids on board were checked out, driver was checked out, everybody was fine, they brought in another bus, put them on the bus, took them to school,” Wheler said. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
Superintendent Jacob Oliva and Vern Orndorff, his deputy, were at the scene and went to the school subsequently to check on the students.
Safety at bus stops has been a focus of city and school officials this year following a series of five wrecks involving students and vehicles, though as appears to be the case today, all but one of the wrecks involved driver error. The exception was a fatal wreck involving a 7-year-old child darting in front of a car at a bus stop in the W Section last October. The victim in that case was also a student at Wadsworth Elementary.
Palm Coast has been installing concrete pads at three high-trafficked bus stops, as a pilot project, designed to encourage students to stand off the road while waiting for their bus. But those safety measures have little bearing on circumstances such as this morning’s wreck.