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Accident Report Detail

​Grade Crossing Collision of a Florida East Coast Railway Company Freight Train and an Indian River Academy Schoolbus

Executive Summary

About 6:55 a.m., on September 27, 1984, a northbound Florida East Coast Railway Company freight train struck a westbound Indian River Academy schoolbus stalled at a grade crossing on Walton Road in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The grade crossing was a two-lane, asphalt-paved, county road intersecting a single railroad track with automatic flashing signals and gates. The 1968 Bluebird/Chevrolet 66-passenger schoolbus was occupied by the driver and four students. Two of the students fled the stopped schoolbus before impact and were not injured. In the collision, the schoolbus body separated from the chassis, and the three remaining occupants were ejected. The two students were killed, and the busdriver was injured seriously. Neither of the two train crewmembers was injured.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the inadequate standards for certifying nonpublic schoolbus drivers, insufficient training and testing programs, and the limited experience of the schoolbus driver, which led to the intrusion of the schoolbus onto the railroad track when the driver misshifted the transmission. Contributing to the accident was the absence of a stop line on the westbound approach to the grade crossing. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the engineer's delay in applying the train brakes and the locked deadbolt on the rear emergency door of the schoolbus.

Accident Location: Port St. Lucie , FL    
Accident Date: 9/27/1984
Accident ID: DCA84MH031

Date Adopted: 6/12/1985
NTSB Number: RHR-85-01
NTIS Number: PB85-917007

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