FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Florida Highway Patrol investigators will perform a post crash investigation of both vehicles that collided in Fort Pierce Monday afternoon, claiming the life of a 9-year-old student, and injuring several others.
Clean up crews worked all day to remove the sod that the semi-truck was carrying when it collided with the school bus, Monday.
While Florida is one of 6 states requiring seat belts on new busses, schools are not held liable if a child is hurt and not wearing one.
According to St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara, who was one of the first on the scene, some of the children had been ejected through the back door and were lying on a grassy median. The driver got all injured kids off the bus and directed emergency workers to the injured. Afterward he collapsed and was taken to the hospital.
Aaron Beauchamp's body was removed from the bus later.
The number of injured students at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center is now down to two. Five students remain at St. Mary's Medical center.
The initial accident report said the bus driver turned in front of the semi-truck trying to go onto Midway Road.
Because a life was lost, this is a criminal investigation, and a decision on whether the bus driver will be charged won't be made until the FHP finishes its work and presents its case to the state attorneys office.
School bus driver, Albert Hazen, was a retired Deputy Fire Chief, serving 26 1/2 years in Plainfield, New Jersey. In a letter of recommendation, another deputy chief wrote Hazen had driven every fire apparatus in their department without any accidents. His most recent evaluations scored him above expectations, and one review pointed out he was "great with parents and students".
There were no accidents or other incidents in the file of note.
Hazen first started as a substitute driver in 2006. He was let go twice, once because he was in a temporary position and once because of budget cuts. He was rehired in 2010.
Hazen has been released from the hospital. His wife said he was 'torn up over the incident.' She told NewsChannel 5 that out of respect for the kids and their parents, they would have no comment at this time.
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