Five Killed In Deadly Bus Crash: Residents Plead For Traffic Light At Dangerous Intersection

Five people were killed Saturday morning when a bus ran through a blinking red light and collided with a semi-truck.

Residents of Wakulla County in Florida have been asking officials to put in a traffic light at the intersection of Coastal Highway 98 and Woodville Highway for a long time. According to UPI the intersection is known for being the site of one deadly crash after another.

The bus crash that occurred on Saturday morning was seen as the worst crash residents have ever seen at that intersection.

According to ABC 13 News Now, an Exxon gas station sits at the deadly intersection and the manager explained that she had seen countless vehicles crash there, though this was the “worst wreck at the intersection” that she had ever seen.

The crash occurred when the driver of the bus sped through a blinking red light and slammed into the side of a semi. The 1979 retired school bus knocked into the truck just behind the driver’s side door, then the bus spun around and crashed into the truck a second time.

The crash pushed both vehicles off the road and forced them into a pole that caused a power line to snap. As a result of the live wire slapping against the side of the vehicles, firefighters were unable to immediately use water to put out the fire that erupted.

While firefighters waited for the electric company to turn off the power, deputies arrived at the scene and risked life and limb to get the survivors out of the bus.

The driver of the truck (55-year-old Gordon A. Sheets) died on impact, though his passenger (21-year-old Rafael Nieves) managed to survive uninjured. The driver of the bus (56-year-old Elie Dupiche) was rushed to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and has been reported by CBS News to be in critical condition.

The bus was carrying 35 Haitian migrant workers, with their families, to Belle Glade from Bainbridge, Georgia, where they were supposed to work for a few weeks before heading back.

Of the people on the bus, 25 were transported to various hospitals with 18 of them, the worst cases, being brought to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Four people were pronounced dead at the scene while one died later after they had been transported.

One of the deceased crash victims was a child. Authorities have not yet released the name or age of that child.

Wakulla Sheriff Charlie Creel told WCTV that the deadly bus crash was one of the very worst he’s ever seen in his career, and that it was definitely the most deadly of any he’s seen in Wakulla County.

Creel went on to praise his deputies. With the fires engulfing the bus and truck while live wires surged around the deadly crash site, his deputies managed to pull all the survivors free and two of the deceased.

“I’ve gotta give praise to our deputies, they went on this bus and started pulling people off before the bus became fully involved,” Creel said. “We would have had more [casualties] if it hadn’t been for the efforts of our deputies.”

One of the nearby residents rushed outside to help.

“It was mainly blood that I saw, but one dude had blood all over his clothes, one woman had a gash in her forehead about an inch deep,” Shelby Mosley told WCTV.

According to Mosley, residents have been trying to get safety precautions for the deadly intersection for years.

“I feel like they should put a stoplight, not a caution light, like a red light. Because it’s not helping at all with just a caution light,” Mosley said.

Another resident that witnessed the deadly bus crash, Michael Harrell, agreed with Mosley.

“Put stoplights up. I mean, it’ll make it way safer.”

It is unclear at this time if authorities in the area are discussing adding a traffic light to intersection where the deadly bus crash occurred.

[Photo by Corepics VOF/Shutterstock]