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Truck passenger hurt after collision with school bus

POSTED: October 31, 2013 8:22 p.m.
Photo by Paul Floeckher/

A pick-up truck collided with an Effingham County school bus Wednesday afternoon at Midland and Blue Jay roads.

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A young child was injured when a pick-up truck collided with an Effingham County school bus Wednesday afternoon.


No students were on the bus when the crash occurred at Midland and Blue Jay roads around 3:30 p.m.


“The situation could’ve been a whole lot worse,” said Effingham County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor. “This is obviously known as one of the worst intersections in Effingham County.”


Bus driver Robert Braswell had dropped off a busload of elementary school students and was en route to pick up students at South Effingham High School. He was driving southbound on Midland Road when a white Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck driven by Julio Plasenicia pulled in front of him, according to the Georgia State Patrol.


Plasenicia was driving westbound on Blue Jay Road and had stopped at the stop sign at the intersection with Midland, investigators said. However, Braswell told the State Patrol the pick-up truck driver “gunned it” and “pulled right in front of (him).”


“All of the sudden, he just took off. I couldn’t get out of his way,” Braswell told GSP Master Trooper Tommy Sisson.


Plasenicia was charged with failure to yield and could face additional charges, Sisson said.


Three passengers were in Plasenicia’s truck — an adult, a 4-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl. The only person hurt in the wreck was the 3-year-old, with injuries Sisson described as minor.


“Anytime I hear that a bus has been in an accident, I immediately think about the safety of the children and bus driver,” said Effingham County Schools Superintendent Randy Shearouse. “An accident like this serves as a reminder to us all to be on the lookout for buses carrying precious cargo.”


The junction of Midland and Blue Jay has long been a site of bad, and often fatal, crashes. Speed limits on Blue Jay approaching the Midland intersection were lowered two years ago, and larger, brighter stop signs were installed earlier this year.


The state Department of Transportation recently completed a traffic engineering study at the Blue Jay-Midland intersection and suggested improving the sight lines at the intersection or even turning it into a four-way stop. Currently, traffic on Blue Jay has to stop at the crossing while vehicles on Midland do not.


“He’s local; he must know the intersection,” Ehsanipoor said of Plasenicia, “but it’s all too common at this intersection. It’s a bad intersection — I would say one of the worst ones in Effingham County.”

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