In Brooksville, Florida and other cities in Florida, children walk to bus stops every morning and then wait for the bus to take them to school. Some bus stops are right in front of the child’s home while others require a walk to the bus stop area. When walking to a bus stop, children need to walk on side walks, shoulders of roads, roads themselves, neighbor’s yards, and other areas. Kaitlyn Harper was hit by a Dodge Pick Up truck in the early morning (6:45 a.m.) Kaitlyn was just 30 feet from the bus stop area. There were witnesses to the incident. The driver (Mark Buel) of Brooksville may have tried to avoid the accident by braking. Kaitlyn was taken to Brooksville Regional Hospital, where she later died. The Florida Highway Patrol will further investigate the incident.
As a Florida Child Injury Lawyer / Attorney, I handled a case very similar to this one for a family whose middle school child died as a result of an incident at a Florida school bus stop. A death of this nature is especially difficult for the family, friends, school, and the community.
Drivers should be cautious during these early morning hours at all times and especially during the school year. There is a Florida Statute (Florida Statute Section 316.172) in place that requires a driver to stop or slow when a school bus uses its warning and stop lights; however, there is no such law in place for school bus stops when no bus is present. Driving near school bus stop areas is subject to general Florida law that requires a driver to obey the speed limits, utilize headlights when necessary, and exercise reasonable caution when there are children or people near the roadway.