ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. — A second Royal Palm Beach student has tragically passed away after a group of children were hit by a car at a school bus stop last week.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said a 15-year-old boy died from his injuries on March 25. A 15-year-old girl passed away from her injuries just two days prior.
The sheriff's office 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.
Two other children — ages 16 and 17 — are recovering from their injuries.
"It's heartbreaking. To lose two young people just as their lives and careers are beginning, it's devastating," said Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay.
Principal Michelle Fleming said in a letter to parents last week the bus stop at Crestwood Boulevard South and Cypress Lake Drive is being moved.
Fleming said the stop has been relocated effective Monday by the School District of Palm Beach County's transportation department. This impacts students on the R019 bus in the morning and R049 bus in the afternoon.
Students in the Kensington community will remain at their stop at Crestwood Boulevard South and Crestwood Circle at the clubhouse.
Students in the Estates community will be reassigned from their prior stop at Crestwood Boulevard South and Cypress Lake Drive to Cypress Lake Drive at the turnaround in front of the Estates community.
Students in the Grandview community will be reassigned to a private transportation vendor until a longer-term solution can be made for these students.
In her letter, Fleming added the bus stop is being 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.
Lopez suffered minor injuries and refused medical attention at the scene.
According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, charges are pending against Lopez.
Investigators are waiting for toxicology test results to come back to show if the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash.
"It's frustrating not to have answers right away, not to have charges filed right away. But the law enforcement agencies have to do their due diligence in their investigations to get it right," said WPTV legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Michelle Suskauer.
Suskauer said there are several factors that come into play that will ultimately determine if and when charges are filed.
"The accident reconstruction, any toxicology results, witness statements. They have to review video photographs and they put all the reports together and issue their own report, which then can be released," Suskauer said.
WPTV dug up Lopez's state driving records. Since 2004, no red flags. Before that he lived in New York state, where we found no records of any traffic violations there as well.
In the meantime, McKinlay — who represents the Royal Palm Beach area — has called for a traffic study, a move that could lead to adding a traffic light at the intersection.
McKinlay said preliminary records show there's been nearly 20 accidents reported at this location, most of them involving drivers going off the road.
"We are looking at other improvements. Make sure the road markings were correct, make sure the landscaping was appropriately trimmed. Those types of things to make the driving situation as safe as possible," McKinlay said.