Jerry Cunningham of Pompano Beach, Florida was critically injured in a bus accident on Friday, news sources report. The accident reportedly occurred when 14-year-old Cunningham attempted to get on a moving bus and got his arms stuck in the door. The bus driver, Reinaldo Soto, failed to stop and rolled over the victim. Soto, 55, of Margate is currently under investigation for his role in the incident; So far, no charges have been filed. It remains to be seen whether Cunningham’s parents will file a suit.
According to reports, Soto has been working for the Broward County Transit office for 11 years. On Friday, he was driving a Route 34 bus in Pompano Beach. Several students, including Cunningham, regularly take Soto’s bus to get to school.
Following the accident, a Broward County Administrator spokesperson released a statement, saying, “Our thoughts and prayers are with this young man and his family. We are saddened by this tragic incident. The safety of passengers is a top priority for Broward County Transit.” The transit office has placed Soto on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
The incident occurred around 9:00 Friday morning around the 1200 block of East Sample Road. Cunningham missed the bus at the stop and began running after it as it pulled away. Sources say Cunningham grabbed the bus, but got his arm stuck on the door. Moments later, his arm came loose from the door and he fell to the ground. At least one of the bus’s wheels rolled over the Cunningham after he fell.
“We screamed, ‘Stop! Stop!'” a witness aboard the bus told reporters. “I watched the kid literally drop and go under the bus.” Witnesses say Cunningham had blood running from his nose, eyes, and mouth as he lay in the road. Cunningham was taken to the Broward Health Medical Center. The victim’s parents told the press that the next 72 hours are crucial to Cunningham’s recovery.
A witness who was on the bus at the time of the accident said he could not believe that Soto did not see Cunningham trapped in the bus’s door. “In the end, they will know exactly what happened, and if there was anything criminal, charges will be pressed,” a police spokesperson said.
“I have many, many questions myself,” Gerald Cunningham, the victim’s father, said. “I was told [Cunningham] asked [Soto] to hold the bus, because his mom was behind him and the driver said, ‘No.’ He took off with my son hanging.” Police are currently investigating and have not said whether they could confirm that accusation.
Statistics from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles indicate there were 1,463 people injured in accidents with commercial vehicles in Broward County in 2010. The FLHSMV’s statistics show that 23 people in Broward were killed in accidents with commercial vehicles that year. The FLHSMV’s statistics show that 23 people in Broward were killed in accidents with commercial vehicles that year. According to the FLHSMV, a commercial vehicle is a vehicle that is used for transporting goods or passengers, such as public transit buses and semi-trucks.