14-year-old girl hit, killed by Lakeland school bus | News
Lakeland, Florida -- Katlyn Rickman, a Lakeland High School student, died Tuesday afternoon after she was hit by a school bus. Lakeland police say it happened at 3:06 p.m. as the 14-year-old was crossing West Beacon Road southbound from Camphor Drive.
43-year-old Virginia Robinson, a substitute driver who has been with the school district since August 2011, was stopped on Eden Parkway at the intersection of West Beacon Road. Robinson was transporting 28 students from Southwest Elementary School.
Investigators say Robinson was making a left turn when she hit Katlyn, who was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital. Rickman was pronounced dead at 4:37 p.m.
Fred Murphy is the Assistant Superintendent for the Polk County School District Transportation Department. Murphy says Robinson was so distraught over the accident she had to be rushed to the hospital too. "She's absolutely devastated over what took place."
Katlyn's middle school principal at Southwest Middle School says teachers, students and staff are going to be devastated as they learn of her death. "She was a sweet girl - very well liked - popular with the other students - involved here at school."
Wilson says Katlyn played the French Horn in the band and was involved in TV production. "She was just up here last week talking about how much she was continuing to enjoy being a part of that program at Lakeland High."
On Tuesday evening, many of the students at Lakeland High School did not know about her death.
13-year-old Katie Edwards knew Katlyn. Katie's mother Lorianne says, "It's too young to see them go. It's too young to see them done with they've got to do in this life. There's so much ahead of them."
Edwards, a mother of three, says she won't let any of her children go anywhere near the intersection where the accident happened. "I view it as a very dangerous intersection. I won't even let my kids go home from school that way. People don't travel down Beacon slowly down there, even when the flashing lights are on - they don't provide crossing guards there."
Lakeland Police won't say if those issues were factors in the crash. Their investigation is still ongoing.
Meanwhile, none of the children on board the school bus were hurt. School district officials say counselors will be available to help the students and the school bus driver during the week.