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Student dies after getting hit by car at Royal Palm Beach school bus stop

3 other students in hospital following Tuesday's crash; charges pending against driver
A car is smashed up after a crash at Crestwood Boulevard South and Cypress Lake Avenue in Royal Palm Beach on March 22, 2022.jpg
Posted at 2:08 PM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-24 00:21:33-04

ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. — One of the four Royal Palm Beach students rushed to the hospital after getting hit by a car at their school bus stop Tuesday morning has tragically passed away.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said a girl, 15, whose name has not been released, died around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday from her injuries.

The sheriff's office said Angel Antonio Lopez, 57, was driving a 2018 Alfa Romero Stelvio on Crestwood Boulevard South around 7 a.m. Tuesday and lost control, drove onto a sidewalk, and struck four students who were waiting for their school bus.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office investigates a crash on Crestwood Boulevard South in Royal Palm Beach on March 22, 2022.jpg
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office investigates a crash on Crestwood Boulevard South in Royal Palm Beach on March 22, 2022.

The students are from Royal Palm Beach Community High School. Their ages range from 15 to 17 years old.

The Palm Beach County School Board held a moment of silence at Wednesday evening's meeting for the four victims.


Palm Beach County School Board members hold moment of silence for crash victims

Board member Marcia Andrews spoke about the impact this tragic crash is having on the entire district.

"Our hearts go out to the families of the four Royal Palm Beach High School students who were the victims of the automobile accident yesterday morning," she said.

Vice Chair Karen Brill became emotional.

"Our thoughts and prayers, hearts, are with the Royal Palm Beach family, the families, the students, the community," she said.

Parents were devastated Wednesday to learn a young girl didn't survive.

"It’s unfortunate," mother Leanna Billings said. "I'm a mother of three and I cannot even being to imagine the pain that family is going through right now. Any of the four families."

In a call to parents on Tuesday, Principal Michelle Fleming called the crash a "devastating situation" and said counselors and a school police therapy dog are available for students who are affected by the tragedy.

Of the surviving children, one suffered critical injuries and two are in serious condition in the hospital, according to an official crash report from the sheriff's office.

Lopez suffered minor injuries and refused medical attention at the scene.

"It’s a painful experience knowing that you're taking your kid to school and you get a notice that this happened," Billings said.

The pain is running deep among Royal Palm Beach Community High School parents, with many opting to pick their children up from school Wednesday, worried about the danger other drivers pose on the roads.

"That’s why we as a family decided to do pick up and drop off on my own, rather than to have someone be capable of such tragedy," Billings said. "There's too many crazy drivers that don't obey the law."

The crash is also causing parents to voice concerns about safety at school bus stops.

"Some of the placement of the bus stops seem inadequate, so maybe that’s something that should come down from the school board, that the bus stops need to be reevaluated," Billings said.

The next steps now appear to include a new traffic and safety assessment of the intersection where the crash happened.

According to Palm Beach County's engineer, Tuesday's crash is the first fatality at the Crestwood Boulevard and Cypress Lake Drive intersection since February 2021.

However, there have been a total of eight crashes since 2021 at that intersection, not including Tuesday's crash.

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.

Below is the full statement that Fleming sent to parents Wednesday:

"Dear Royal Palm Beach High School Community,

Thank you for your patience while we continue to receive details regarding the devastating situation impacting a member of our RPBHS Wildcat Family. It has been confirmed that a student has died as a result of injuries from yesterday’s accident. In an effort to support our school community, the District’s crisis team is available to students and staff members for support and grief counseling services, as well as therapy dogs provided by School District Police.

We recommend that you take time today to listen to any further questions your child may have. If you feel that your child would benefit from talking with a member of our Mental Health Team: school counselors, school psychologists, behavioral health professionals, or support staff; please encourage your child to go to our Guidance Department for assistance.

We offer our deepest condolences to the family and we will continue to work together as we grieve the loss of our student. As soon as we know the family’s wishes regarding services we will share that information with you."