Published: Oct 24, 2013 12:04 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 24, 2013 12:08 PM EDT

HARDEE, Fla.- Three children were injured when a pick-up truck hit them as they were getting on the school bus, just before 7:30 a.m.

Florida Highway Patrol said 9-year-old Caylin Morgan Skipper was airlifted to Tampa General with critical injuries, while 6-year-old Savannah Keishawna Williams and 8-year-old Alexis Albivter-Martinez were taken to Florida Hospital with minor injuries.

The driver of a Ford F-250, identified as 69-year-old Louis Edward Stephen, was charged with failing to stop for the school bus after he hit the children, while trying to avoid a rear-end collision with the bus. It was stopped on SR 62 at the time.

Though the red lights were flashing and the stop signs were extended, Stephen said he thought the lights were coming from US 17. Once the driver realized that the lights were on a school bus, he was not able to stop. To avoid a rear-end collision, he swerved towards the right. The truck then hit the children.

Alcohol was not a factor in the crash.