Polk County Sheriff’s Traffic deputies are investigating a traffic crash that occurred in Haines City this morning, involving a vehicle versus a child. Preliminary information is as follows:
Around 7:15 a.m. this morning, Wednesday, March 20, 2013, a white Dodge Caravan being driven by 45-year-old Glenn McCarthy of 308 Anchovie Court in Kissimmee was heading eastbound on Johnson Avenue East in Haines City, at the intersection with Ellison Parkway. At the same time, a Polk County School bus was stopped with its stop signal arm deployed, facing westbound on Johnson Avenue. The Caravan, in violation of the stop signal arm and flashing lights of the school bus (Johnson Avenue is a two-lane road), continued eastbound and struck a 7-year-old girl, identified as Vanessa Perez of Haines City, who was walking across the eastbound lanes of Johnson Avenue to get on the bus. She was propelled several feet in the air and landed on the roadway.
The victim was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando where she is in stable condition, and is expected to recover.
The driver of the vehicle, McCarthy, was arrested and charged with Willful/Wanton Reckless Driving (FSS 316.192) and is being transported to the Polk County Jail at this time. He will also be cited for failing to stop for a school bus.
The approximately 40-50 children on the school bus were transported to their schools after being interviewed by PCSO deputies. Please contact the Polk County School Board for more information about the bus itself and which schools it serves. I do know that the victim attends Davenport School of the Arts.
The investigation is ongoing.
"It's a miracle this child survived being hit by a mini-van, and we are grateful for that. We can't stress it enough - you MUST OBEY traffic safety devices. They are there for a reason - to keep our children safe. Failure to do so will land you in jail, or result in a hefty fine, and can result in injury to yourself or others. We pray for a swift recovery for little Vanessa." - Sheriff Grady Judd