Update, 6:15 p.m.:
The driver involved in this morning's accident on Bloomingdale Avenue is "fully cooperating" with investigators while the eighth-grade girl struck by the woman's sports utility vehicle remained in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital, according to a report by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
The report, issued just before noon today, Nov. 16, notes that the driver, Stephanie Lynn Akins, 30, was traveling with two of her small children when the accident occured this morning at around 8:30 a.m.
That's when Andrea Bower of Brandon, a student at Giunta Middle School in Riverview, attempted to cross the busy lanes of Bloomingdale Avenue to catch the school bus at a stop across the street from where she typically waits for the bus each morning.
"This morning Andrea arrived late and missed her eastbound bus," reported deputy Larry McKinnon in the sheriff's report, issued at 11:42 a.m. "Andrea knew that her bus would return and pick up students directly across the street on the north side of Bloomingdale Avenue."
As the bus headed west, across the street and several blocks away from Bower's Buckhorn Springs Drive bus stop, the 13-year-old attempted to make a dash for it.
She was struck in the outside lane by the Ford SUV driven by Akins, who subsequently submitted to a voluntary blood draw. "Speed or alcohol does not appear to be a factor" in the accident, McKinnon said.
"There were several kids at the bus stop waiting to get picked up who witnessed the crash," he added. "School officials immediately responded to the scene and will be working with those students as well as students at Giunta Middle School."
Bower was in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital. Her family had been notified and was at the hosptial with her.
Traffic on Bloomingdale Avenue reportedly remained restricted to one lane in both directions as investigators continued their work.
Extreme traffic congestion has been reported this morning, Nov. 16, after a Giunta Middle School student was struck by a vehicle at Bloomingdale Avenue and La Brisas Drive, in the Greater Brandon area of Riverview, between South Kings Avenue and Watson Road, near Winthrop.
According to a 9:43 a.m. report from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the female student, a pedestrian, was transported to Tampa General Hospital in serious condition. An earlier report said the injuries were "life-threatening."
The parents of the girl and officials at the school, at 4202 South Falkenburg Road, have been notified.
Traffic homicide investigators arrived on the scene to lead the investigation.
The report notes further that "traffic in the area is extremely congested" with "both lanes down to one lane in each direction." Motorists were advised to take an alternate route of travel.
Update Posted 11:15 a.m.
The Giunta student has been identified as Andrea Bower, 13, of Brandon. The driver in the crash has been identified as Stephanie Lynn Akins, 30, of Riverview.
At the scene, deputy Larry McKinnon, a sheriff’s spokesperson, said Bower normally catches the bus to Giunta at Bloomingdale Avenue and Buckhorn Springs Road. This morning, however, she missed the bus and attempted to catch it when it looped back west on Bloomingdale to pick up students at Bloomingdale and La Brisas Drive.
Bower was struck at 8:31 a.m, then dragged 20 feet, as she ran across Bloomingdale Avenue, McKinnon said. Akins reportedly attempted to brake but could not do so in time.