A woman waiting at a Sumter bus stop along with 27 children on their way home from school happened to avoid injury Friday after a 1993 Oldsmobile slammed into their stopped bus, engulfing both vehicles in flames.

The Oldsmobile, driven by a Webster man, became lodged beneath the bus and caught fire.

The bus driver was credited with getting the children off of the bus safely.

The Sumter County Fire Rescue Chief was not sure if the passengers exited the bus through the emergency exit located since the Oldsmobile was lodged near the back emergency door.

One 911 caller apparently told officials children were climbing out of the windows. The children were from Webster Elementary School in Wildwood.

According to the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, the driver of the Oldsmobile was following a vehicle towing a trailer when the bus stopped at an intersection around 2:52 p.m. The driver claims the trailer’s brake lights were not working, causing him to swerve onto the right shoulder of the highway to avoid rear-ending the trailer. However, after clearing the trailer he apparently saw a woman waiting for a child to get off the bus. The man swerved again to avoid hitting the woman and slammed into the rear of the bus, causing his car to turn sideways.

Reports indicate that both the car and the bus were fully engulfed in flames when 10 fire rescue personnel in three engines along with other support vehicles arrived at the scene to extinguish the fire.

The man was cited for following too closely.

Tailgating is when a driver follows the car directly in front of them too closely, which can decrease the amount of time a driver has time to react to a certain situation. Tailgating is a primary cause of automobile accidents because it often results in an unavoidable accident. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2009 tailgating was the cause of 7 fatalities and 5, 557 injuries. In 2010, 10 fatalities and 5,437 injuries resulted from drivers following too closely throughout the state of Florida.

Some drivers may not even realize they are following too closely behind another vehicle, but generally, people that tailgate are in a hurry and think that following closely behind another vehicle will get them where they need to go in less time. If you find yourself the victim of a tailgating accident, it is vital that you contact The Villages Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton. Following an auto accident, an investigation into the wreck needs to be conducted to gather and preserve key pieces of evidence. Certain evidence at a crash site can be eliminated by weather conditions or fade over time, so it is important to act fast.

At Whittel & Melton, we carefully conduct investigations into all car accident cases. Our attorneys can discuss your auto accident injury or wrongful death including claims resulting from:

  • Tailgating or being hit by a driver following too closely
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Side-impact collisions
  • Head-on collisions
  • Distracted driver accidents

If you have been injured in a car accident by someone who was following too closely, contact The Villages Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton online or call 352-369-5334.