ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - Grief counselors were on hand a Frances K. Sweet Magnet School in Fort Pierce Tuesday after a school bus crash Monday afternoon killed a 9-year-old boy and injured more than a dozen other young students. 5 remain in critical condition.
Flowers were placed at a makeshift memorial for Aaron Beauchamp, who died when his bus and a truck carrying sod collided.
"We all keep the family in our thoughts and prayers, many of us from district offices are here to support the school and the family that's what we do," said St. Lucie Co. Schools Public Information Officer Janice Karst.
Parents said their hearts go out to those families affected by the crash..
"I was kind of like devastated," said parent Ambrosia Townsend. "I got up this morning and I heard it, I was shocked, tears came to my eyes."
Parent Fay Benjamin added, "My heart just went out to the family, the kids on the bus, the bus driver, the truck driver, it's just a sad situation."
St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said the bus driver got all the uninjured children off the bus, then directed emergency workers to the injured. Afterward, the driver collapsed on the shoulder of the road, and a helicopter transported him to a hospital.
The sheriff said some of the injured children had been ejected through the back door. Aaron Beauchamp, however, was on the bus.
Faculty and staff met Tuesday morning to handle rumor control and make sure they knew how to answer students' questions.
"Of the thousands and thousands of miles, and thousands of children we transport, something like this to happen is very, very rare," Karst said.
The Florida Highway Patrol plans a post-crash inspection of the two vehicles involved in the collision. Both the bus and semi have been secured.
FHP must finish its investigation and present its findings to the State Attorney's office before a decision is made on whether the bus driver will face charges.
Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers contributed to this report.