A Tampa Bay area school bus driver has been cited for careless driving after a crash last week that ended with the bus overturned in a pond. The accident occurred last Thursday afternoon as the bus carried students home from school. Twenty-seven Mary E. Bryant Elementary students were on board at the time the bus crashed into the pond and thankfully, none were seriously injured. One of the students received much deserved recognition for his heroic efforts – fifth-grader Nicholas Sierra helped a kindergartner safely out of the partly underwater bus and then went back to help two more students. “It wouldn’t be fair if they died and I lived,” said Sierra.
Upon investigation, it was discovered that mechanical failure was not a factor in the crash. Officials also utilized GPS data from the bus as well as reviewed video taken by a nearby security station surveillance camera. The bus was said to be traveling 48 mph in a 35 mph zone. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has said that the bus veered into the pond due to “excessive speed” and “carelessness” and it is believed that the driver pressed down on the brake and accelerator at the same time, causing the bus to lose control.
According to the Hillsborough County school district, 54-year-old Lenoir Sainfimin was fired on Tuesday. He had been cited for careless driving in 2014 related to a crash involving a commercial vehicle. He was found guilty and points were added to his driving record.
What are the penalties for reckless driving in Florida?
Reckless driving is generally a second-degree misdemeanor (or lower) and is not considered to be as serious an offense as DUI. Reckless driving is defined in Fla. Stat. § 316.192 as “the operation of a motor vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
Punishments for reckless driving in Florida can include the following:
- First offense – $25 – $100 fine, up to 90 days of prison or no more than 6 months’ probation and four points added to your driving record
- Second or subsequent offense – $50 – $1,000 fine, up to 6 months of prison and 4 points added to your driving record
If the reckless driving causes property damage or bodily injury, the punishments can be much more severe. If you are facing a reckless driving charge in Florida, contact TJ Grimaldi at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A. immediately to discuss the options available to you.