ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. — WPTV learned new information Tuesday in the deaths of two students who authorities said were hit by a driver at a school bus stop last week in Royal Palm Beach.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office told WPTV that charges against that driver are "likely," but caution their timetable could be a long one.
A sheriff's office spokeswoman said Angel Antonio Lopez, 57, was driving a 2018 Alfa Romero Stelvio around 7 a.m. on March 22 and lost control, drove onto a sidewalk and struck four Royal Palm Beach Community High School students who were waiting for their school bus at the intersection of Crestwood Boulevard South and Cypress Lake Drive.
Two of those children, a boy and girl, both 15, died from their injuries.
The sheriff's office on Tuesday responded to questions from WPTV reporter Kamrel Eppinger, who inquired about the length of time it's taking to resolve the case.
In an initial crash report released last week, the sheriff's office would only say that charges against Lopez were "pending."
Over the past seven days, investigators have been collecting evidence and a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said that process is ongoing.
In an email to WPTV, she said it takes time to "map" the scene, using a surveying-type machine with law enforcement software that helps investigators reconstruct the scene based on data and evidence.
In addition, authorities are awaiting certain documents including medical records, the medical examiner's records, a toxicology report, search warrants and air bag control information.
The spokeswoman said Tuesday that once an arrest is made in any case, investigators must have the case "court ready" in 20 days.
Once the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office completes its investigation, the findings will be presented to the state attorney's office, which will determine possible charges.
A spokesman for the state attorney's office told WPTV it cannot comment on an active investigation.
The new investigative development Tuesday comes one week after the March 22 crash. Two other children — ages 16 and 17 — are recovering from their injuries.
Lopez suffered minor injuries and refused medical attention, the crash report stated.
Records reviewed by WPTV's Contact 5 investigative team show Lopez is the owner and operator of Hygienic Solutions Incorporated, a Wellington-based janitorial business.
Reached by phone, Lopez's wife refused to comment and directed any questions to their attorney.
Royal Palm Beach Community High School Principal Michelle Fleming said in a letter to parents the bus stop at Crestwood Boulevard South and Cypress Lake Drive was relocated Monday by the School District of Palm Beach County's transportation department.
In her letter, Fleming said the bus stop was moved "out of respect for the victims and families of Tuesday’s devastating vehicle accident, and in an effort to be sensitive to all students utilizing that stop."
Fleming said the School District of Palm Beach County's crisis team is available to students and staff members for support and grief counseling, along with therapy dogs from the school district's police department.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay — whose district covers the Royal Palm Beach area — is calling for a traffic study, a move that could lead to adding a traffic light at the intersection.
According to Palm Beach County's engineer, the March 22 crash was the first fatality at the intersection of Crestwood Boulevard South and Cypress Lake Drive since Feb. 2021.
There have been a total of nine crashes at that intersection since 2021.