CAPE CORAL, Fla. - A Cape Coral elementary student is recovering after a man driving a U-Haul crashed into her school bus Wednesday. WINK News learned safety features on the bus protected the children from serious injury.
"Instant shock." Dan Sardinas says his 10 year old daughter Brianna, a student at Hector A. Cafferata Jr. Elementary School, was sitting a few rows behind the point of impact. Her face slammed into the seat. She injured her shoulder, knee, and got a bloody nose.
"She had blood all over her face, on her shirt, on her pants, her arms, so when I first got there, the EMS worker was trying to calm me down saying nothings life threatening," he said.
Executive Director of School District Transportation's Robert Morgan says it could have been worse, if it weren't for the bus lap belts. He says all buses manufactured in the state of Florida after the year 2000, have them. "The students are taught the first day of school how, to insure they know how to do their lap belts," Morgan said.
He also says the seats are extra high and the roof is designed as a one piece bow, in case the bus rolls.
Twice a year the district also runs through drills with local EMS, using buses and putting them in collision type situations, along with using children as actors. One of these drills is scheduled for March.
Sardinas, a local pastor, is thankful Brianna is ok. "Right now, my thoughts are praising God that my daughter is safe, her injuries are minor, they're controllable, and that our hope is in Him," he said.
WINK News is learning the driver of the U-Haul that hit the school bus has a criminal history.
Bradford Tanner, seen in a mug shot from 2007, has a lengthy rap sheet that includes charges of possession of cocaine, weapons, and cruelty towards a child.
He is listed in fair condition Thursday at Lee Memorial.