FHP documents detail how, why 9-year-old died during March school bus crash in Fort Pierce

FORT PIERCE, Fla. -- More than 100 pages from the Florida Highway Patrol's traffic homicide investigation detail what happened during a March 26 fatal school bus crash in Fort Pierce.


The report states 9-year-old Aaron Beauchamp was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash. However, the seatbelt had not been pulled tight after it was buckled, so it was not adjusted to fit a small child.


The report said bus driver Albert Hazen turned into the path of a semi-tractor trailer, and that collision, investigators found, caused 9-year-old Aaron Beauchamp's head to hit the roof of the bus. According to the autopsy report, this caused him to die from blunt head force trauma.

Tom Bakkedahl, Chief Assistant State Attorney, said the state attorney's office role was to ensure that law enforcement did a thorough job investigating the incident.

"We were confident that they did a very thorough investigation, and we just want to make sure that they applied the correct laws to the particular situation," said Bakkedahl.


He said the state attorney's office in St. Lucie County agrees with FHP's findings that Hazen and the driver of the tractor trailer that hit the bus, Charles Cooper, should not be charged criminally.


"You must understand the division between criminal and civil," he explained. "Our office is solely, exclusively responsible for the prosecution of criminal offenses, and because this was an accident, albeit a tragic accident, we have no further legal responsibilities in the matter."


Hazen is being cited for failure to yield while making a left turn.


Cooper is cited for regulatory infractions, which the state attorney's office says did not contribute to the crash.


Even though these citations are civil, neither one of these men involved in the crash will face criminal charges.


Tuesday, Beauchamp's family issued a statement through their lawyers, informing the public that they are suing the truck driver and the trucking company for wrongful death.

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