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Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018
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Pasco bus driver involved in fatal crash put on leave

DADE CITY — A school bus driver was placed on paid administrative leave after she was involved in a traffic accident that killed a 65-year-old woman in Dade City, the Pasco County school district reported Thursday.

No children were on board at the time.

The bus driver, Bonita Mayle, will remain off the road at least until the district receives the results of routine drug and alcohol tests, and could be suspended without pay by the school board if she is cited or charged, said district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe.

Mayle was traveling south on U.S. 301 about 3:05 p.m. Wednesday when her bus struck the rear of a 2008 Smart car that was stopped at a red light at Morningside Drive, Dade City police reported.

The impact knocked the Smart car through the intersection to the center median, a report said. At the same time, a 2000 Chevrolet Malibu traveling east on Morningside Drive was entering the intersection and was struck broadside by the school bus, the report said.

The driver of the Malibu, Harian McDonald, 65, of Dade City, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Smart car, Patricia Austin, 61, of Dade City, was flown to Lakeland Regional Hospital. Her condition was not available Thursday.

A 14-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy in McDonald’s car were taken by Pasco Fire Rescue to Florida Hospital Zephyrhills for treatment. Mayle and an aide on her bus were not injured

The investigation is continuing and no charges have been filed, but there is no indication alcohol was a factor, police reported.

Cobbe said Mayle, who has worked for the district since 1996, had a “spotless” driving record prior to the accident.

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