Marion County truck driver charged after September fatal bus crash

Ocala area semi-truck driver charged in court for death of school bus rider.

Ocala, FL (JusticeNewsFlash.com)–The truck driver involved in the fatal school bus crash that killed an eighth grader in September 2008, was arrested Tuesday, April 7, 2009. As reported by Ocala news services, the big rig truck driver, was charged with vehicular homicide and reckless driving with serious bodily injury. Reinaldo Andujar Gonzalez, 30, was driving a semi-truck, through Marion County, Florida, when he became distracted and rear-ended a school bus on September 23, 2008.

The fatal motor vehicle collision took the life of an 8th grade student, 13-year-old, Margay Schee, who attended North Marion Middle School. This tragic accident occurred when the school bus stopped on U.S. 301 to let children off, and was rear-ended by the 18-wheeler Gonzalez was driving. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers believe Gonzalez did not have sufficient amounts of sleep before the accident, and his cell phone had distracted him. It is not clear, yet, whether Gonzalez was actually on his phone at the time of the accident. Several other children and the bus driver were also injured in the fatal wreck.

Plaintiffs attorneys have already filed two civil lawsuits on behalf of injured passengers on the school bus. Rhonda Arbucke, a mother of two children who were on the school bus, filed a lawsuit in October. The lawsuit alleges the driver (Gonzalez) was negligently operating the semi-truck by failing to brake. Court documents also assert the truck driver was operating a vehicle with defective brakes. Elissa Schee, mother of Frances Margay, filed a similar lawsuit in December on behalf of the wrongful death of her daughter.

Schee has also been actively petitioning for the removal of bus stops on four-lane highways. Florida State Representative Chuck Chestnut, filed a bill, in February, before the Florida State Legislature prohibiting School Districts from establishing bus stops on highways and removing the current highway bus stops. The bill didn’t make it out of the Florida Legislature last week because of opposition made by school and transportation officials.

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