NTSB releases details on Lake Butler crash
No charges have been filed against bus driver, although a criminal investigation continues.
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published February 3, 2006
LAKE BUTLER – A truck driver who plowed into a car at a school bus stop last week killing seven children
had been awake for 34 hours, except for a short nap, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety
Board said Friday.
David Rayburn, the lead investigator for the Lake Butler crash, said the31-year-old truck driver, Alvin
Wilkerson, was refusing to talk to investigators about the accident.
Rayburn and Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Bill Leeper refused to release the name of Wilkerson’s attorney. Calls
to Crete Carrier Corp., the Lincoln, Neb., trucking company Wilkerson drove for, were not immediately
Blood tests showed he had not been using alcohol or drugs, Leeper said.
Wilkerson was not using his cell phone
at the time of the accident.
No charges have been filed against Wilkerson, although a criminal investigation
Rayburn said fatigue was one of many factors being looked into as the cause of the crash. “He was driving quite
a bit during those 34 hours,” Rayburn said, adding that Wilkerson was making deliveries and loading and
unloading his truck. At the time of the crash, Wilkerson was driving a load of bottled water from High Springs
to Jacksonville, a trip of about 85 miles.
The NTSB, using an identical school bus and truck, determined the school bus should have been visible for
about 3,000 feet (more than half a mile) and there was some light skid marks before hitting the car and pushing
it into the school bus.
The car burst into flames, killing all seven children, and forcing it under the school bus, carrying nine children.