Updated 2:37 p.m.
The accident involving two school buses transporting students home from an early-release testing day at Bloomingdale High School were involved in a rear-end accident "within 50 feet east" of the Bell Shoals Road and Bloomingdale Avenue traffic light, according to a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office investigator at the scene.
"They were not even traveling 10 miles per hour, if that," when the accident occurred, shortly after noon Wednesday, Jan. 16, according to Paul Dozier, the accident investigator.
Reportedly, the bus drivers were traveling westbound on Bloomingdale Avenue when the second bus driver checked her left-side mirror. "When she looked up, the first bus was stopped," Dozier said, calling the incident a textbook rear-end accident.
Dozier's unofficial count of students involved differed from an earlier report issued by Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokesperson Ronnie Rivera at the scene earlier in the day, about 40 minutes after the accident occurred (see earlier account).
Dozier said he collected the names of the students on both buses but had not yet made an official count. Informally, he said there were "20-something students on one bus and 18 to 19 [students] on the second bus."
Rivera had reported that 11 students were transported to Brandon Regional Hospital "with very, very minor injuries." Neither school bus driver reportedly was injured.
Damages to the buses reportedly were minimal. On the scene, there was a slight dent in the back bumper of one of the school buses.
About 40 minutes into the on-scene investigation, students were still being evaluated and transported to Brandon Regional Hospital after an accident involving two school buses transporting 54 students from Bloomingdale High School, according to Ronnie Rivera, spokesperson for Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.
"So far I have 11 students going to the hospital with very, very minor injuries," he said. "We might get more, but so far it's 11 students. We're still evaluating them."
Rivera said the two Hillsborough County School district buses rear-ended somewhere in the vicinity of Bell Shoals Road and Bloomingdale Avenue, but that at the time he did not know the exact location.
He made his comments where the school bus driver had pulled off the road, just north of the Bell Shoals/Bloomingdale Avenue intersection, in the road that leads into the entrances to the Mobile gas station, Bloomingdale Radiology, Bloomingdale Storage, Burger King and Taco Bell.
A spokesperson from the Hillsborough County School District was en route to the scene.
Photos by Regional Editor Chris Taylor and Local Editor Linda Chion Kenney.
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