LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Two teenagers are out of the hospital after the Florida Highway Patrol said a 17-year-old driver hit them while waiting for a Lee County school bus.
FHP said the driver kept going.
The 17-year-old driver was arrested and Lt. Greg Bueno with FHP confirmed there were no tips that led to the arrest, but rather a search by troopers and Lee County deputies.
The incident happened around 6:15 a.m. at the Orange River Blvd. and Loraine Dr. intersection, which is not only a busy road but also a bus stop.
According to witnesses, two students were approaching the bus stop when a Grey Volkswagen hit them.
“I was able to see when the kids were up in the air and they fell to the floor, it’s a miracle that they’re alive," one neighbor said.
"She said some kids got hit, I knew it was going to happen," said John Black, who lives right next to the bus stop. He told us that he has lived in his home for more than 20 years and has noticed the problems with the bus stop.
“They should have a sidewalk and streetlights here,” Black said.
What happened led to plenty of reactions in the neighborhood and on our social media. The common requests are for sidewalks and better lighting.
We reached out to Lee County to see if these issues are on their radar. No one could do an interview, however, a county spokesperson did tell us there is a sidewalk project in the works. It will go from Lorraine Drive west to the vicinity of Palm Beach Boulevard.
The county has a process with its Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee through which residents can submit requests for sidewalks, which we typically call multi-use paths. The BPAC evaluates and prioritizes projects, and then they are queued up for funding in a fiscal year. This area was chosen through that process.
Construction on the multi-use path is expected to begin next summer. This timeframe includes design, permitting, and groundwork for a watermain, which is being installed at the same time as the multi-use path project.
When it comes to the bus stops, we also reached out to Lee County Schools. Robert Spicker, the spokesman said the crash took place at least 2 miles from the nearest school. We pointed out that this incident happened at a bus stop the district uses.
“We take school bus stop safety very seriously. Every single bus stop meets or exceeds state regulations to be considered safe. Bus drivers are encouraged to report any unsafe conditions they see along their routes.”
We asked Spicker if the bus stop at Orange River and Lorraine meets the district's standards, and he said it does.
He added that the responsibility of the school board begins when students step on the school bus and ends when they step off.