2 Dead After Tour Bus Rolls Over On US-27
HIGHLANDS COUNTY, Fla. — Two people were killed and several more hurt when a community college tour bus flipped and crashed on US-27 near Lykes Road in Lake Placid (see map). The passengers riding the bus were in their 60s and part of an education program on a field trip.
The Florida Highway Patrol said the driver of another car pulled out in front of the oncoming bus and caused the wreck. There were 32 people on the bus and 31 were injured.
Rescue crews worked frantically trying to save the lives of those injured. Crash investigators said several of the passengers were thrown out of the bus when it rolled over.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 4-door sedan pulled out in front of the bus. Investigators said the driver of the bus may have been trying to avoid the crash, but over corrected. Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Chris Miller said the bus rolled at least twice.
There were 32 senior citizens on board when the driver lost control just after 3:00pm. The group on the bus was part of South Florida Community Collegeâ€™s Exploritas class. Monday was the first day of the program dubbed “Discover Old Florida.”
The crash victims had just left a tour at Lake Placid’s murals and were headed back to their hotel in Sebring.
College President Norm Stephens said 32 passengers ages 66 to 87 were in the bus when it rolled over in Lake Placid, about 30 miles northwest of Lake Okeechobee. South Florida Community College is based in Avon Park. Stephens said the school’s director of community education was on the bus and called him around 2:15pm to tell him of the wreck.
“It’s tragic,” he said. “Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. It’s a horrible thing.”
Tiffany Bender, spokeswoman for Florida Hospital Heartland Division, said 11 people were taken to Lake Placid hospital. She said 12 others were taken to the group’s hospital in Sebring.
The driver of the sedan lives in Highlands County and was not injured. Troopers said she’ll likely be cited for causing the crash.