Mother says her child witnessed her classmate's accident at bus stop | News

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Mother says her child witnessed her classmate's accident at bus stop
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UPDATE 3/27/14: Eight-year-old Grace Barmad was released from the hospital late Wednesday and diagnosed with a concussion. Her parents say she is very sore and has significant bruising all over her body.

Her mother and stepfather say she is in good spirits overall and feel fortunate because things could have been a lot worse.

Grace's stepfather, Ty Votaw, said this is a lesson to us all to be more mindful of school buses. Grace's mother said Grace is concerned about the 17-year-old who put her in the hospital as he was probably just as scared as she was.

Original story below:

PALM VALLEY, Fla – A little girl who was hit by a pick-up truck when she got off the school bus Tuesday was upgraded to good condition Wednesday afternoon, according to Wolfson Children's Hospital.

The crash happened Tuesday around 3:30 p.m. in Palm Valley near Ponte Vedra Beach.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers say 8-year-old Grace Barmad got off the bus, and started to cross North Roscoe Boulevard when a pick-up truck coming in the opposite direction hit her.

FHP says the bus did have its stop sign extended and its flashing lights were on.

Christina Silva's daughter was on the school bus when her friend, Grace Barmad, was hit.

Silva said, "She noticed the girl cross, and midway the bus driver was trying to get her to stop because he saw the vehicle coming. She saw her friend get hit by the vehicle."

Grace was flown to Wolfson Children's Hospital in serious condition Tuesday.

The pick-up truck driver is a 17-year-old local high school student. He faces a charge of passing by a stopped school bus. It's a civil traffic infraction with a mandatory court appearance.

Sgt. Dylan Bryan with the FHP said the teenager said he was traveling at 35 miles per hour. Bryan added that the driver did apply the brakes and the impact speed was determined to be 25 miles per hour. The speed limit on Roscoe Blvd. is 35 mph. Bryan said the teenage driver does have a valid driver's license and does not admit to any distraction.

Grace was flown to Wolfson Children's Hospital in serious condition.

Joe Purvis with the St. Johns County School District Transportation Department said all too often, drivers don't pay attention to the stop signs and flashing lights, but that it's been 8-10 years since a child was hit because of it.

"If we see a pattern at a certain address and for example at 7:30 in the morning," Purvis noted, "we provide that to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office and they'll have a deputy go out in unmarked cars or even follow the bus route."

People like Kevin Flores who live and work by Roscoe Boulevard said there are more cars and activity on the road and drivers often don't pay attention. "You see these people when they don't pay attention to a school bus, and you wonder what are they paying attention to?"

Silva agreed that drivers need to pay more attention. Her priority Wednesday, as she hopped on her scooter, was to comfort her daughter, the one who witnessed the crash.

"Now she's afraid of riding the bus," Silva said. "She asked if I would follow her home to make sure she got there safe. I'm on my way to do that."


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