FHP: School bus driver ran red light, crashed into power pole in Casselberry

Parent driving car hit by bus says it's a miracle no one was hurt

CASSELBERRY, Fla. - A school bus carrying students slammed into a power pole in Casselberry after the driver ran a red light and crashed into a car, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

No injuries were reported in the crash, which happened around 7:45 a.m. on Red Bug Lake Road at Nodding Pines Way near Red Bug Elementary School, according to Paula Thompson of the Seminole County Fire Department.

Chrystele Lerouzic, the driver of the car hit by the bus, had just dropped off a child at Red Bug Elementary, troopers said.

Her car was totaled.

"The bus driver shouldn't have that job. Someone could have been killed," said Lerouzic.

Authorities have released the 911 calls of reports of the accident. Listen to the calls by clicking here.

"Everyone aboard the bus was able to exit safely via the rear emergency door," Thompson said.

Troopers said six students were aboard the bus, and teachers escorted them to classrooms.  Seminole County officials initially told Local 6 that the school bus was carrying 25 students.

"They all gathered around and as soon as the kids came off the bus they comforted them and they kind of shielded them," said parent Susan Long.

According to the FHP, the bus driver, Jack Timmel, 66, of Casselberry, ran a red light, and the bus crashed into a brown Nissan Sentra that was leaving the school.  The bus then slammed into the pole, which left live power lines dangling above the bus.

"There was an explosion that happened also from the wires and everything hitting stuff, it's just scary I was shaky all day today," said parent John Dorough, who told Local 6 he saw the bus crash into the other vehicle.

The FHP said Timmel was cited for running a red light. 

Red Bug Lake Road reopened a couple hours after the crash.

Video from Local 6 helicopter Sky 6 showed the front of the yellow bus smashed into the base of the pole.  Power company employees later restored power to two nearby subdivisions.

Timmel, who's been with Seminole County since 2008, was involved in a similar crash in January, according to troopers, who said Timmel told them after the accident that he thought the light was green.  There were minor injuries associated with the wreck. The district saidi Timmel was forced to take classroom and driving classes.

Timmel has an upcoming review, and he will not be allowed to operate buses until then, officials said.

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