School bus crash in Glades County injures 25 — including 16 children

GLADES COUNTY — An accident involving a school bus  sent 25 people to area hospitals Friday, Jan. 20.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol report,  the accident happened at 7:54 p.m. on U.S. Highway 27, about 5 miles north of State Road 29.

FHP Trooper A. Botello, crash investigator, stated that Thomas Edward Chism, 45, of Lauderhill, Fla., was driving a 1997 GMC Bluebird school bus northbound in the inside lane on U.S. 27 North, north of SR 29 just before the accident. Passengers included 16 children and two adults, Romone Ottey, 19 and Sherry Nelson Fiddler, 48, of Fort Lauderdale. The bus was from Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sunrise, Fla., according to reports.

Jorge Ernesto Leyva-Joya, 48, of Miami, was driving a 2010 International semi, southbound in the outside lane on U.S. 27. Lisisleydi Marrero Fuentes, 27, of  Culter Bay was a passenger in the vehicle.

Michael David Black, 42, of Jupiter, driving a 2015 Dodge 2500 SLT, was southbound in the outside lane, directly behind the International semi. Passengers in the Dodge included  Kimberly Black, 47, of Jupiter, and four children.

Luis Felipe Arevalo Tur, 66, of Hialeah, was driving a 2004 Freightliner semi was southbound in the outside lane, directly behind the Dodge.

According to the FHP report, the school bus turned left through the paved medium and executed a U-turn to travel south on U.S. 27. In doing so, the bus entered the U.S. 27 southbound outside lane, traveling into the path of the International semi. The driver of the semi turned left, attempting to avoid a collision with the bus. The front of semi struck the left rear of the bus.

Mr. Black slowed his Dodge due to the collision of the school bus and the first semi. The semi driver behind him failed to slow in time and the right front of the second semi struck the rear of the Dodge.

The school bus rotated clockwise and exited the paved portion of the roadway on the right and overturned, coming to final rest on its left side, facing north. The International semi, traveled across the grassy median and the northbound lanes of U.S. 27, and collided with a fence and buses on the U.S. 27 east shoulder, coming to a final rest facing south.

The Dodge overturned and came to a final rest on the west shoulder of U.S. 27  on its left side, facing north.

The second semi traveled onto the median and burst into flames, coming to final rest in the US 27 median, facing south.

In total, 25 persons were transported to various hospitals including Florida Hospital, Hendry Regional Hospital, Highlands Regional Hospital and Raulerson Hospital.

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