trucking community joined family and friends of victims Thursday, Jan. 26,
following a fiery crash that killed seven young members of one family near Lake
Butler, FL, on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
and phone calls to OOIDA headquarters conveyed a collective sense of shock as
news unraveled details of the tragic accident. On the OOIDA Web site, the
comments from truckers have ranged from simply “very sad” to a Crete driver
whose heart was heavy for “those kids who lost their lives.”
According to Florida authorities, Alvin Wilkerson, a 31-year-old driver
for Crete Carrier was on a rural, two-lane highway when he rear-ended a Pontiac
Bonneville and slammed it into a school bus that had stopped to unload
The Bonneville burst into flames and its seven occupants died at the
scene. A 15-year-old girl who was driving and her brothers and sisters – ages
21 months to 15 all died.
Three children were thrown from the school bus and are in serious
The driver of the truck was not seriously injured.
charges have been filed, but Florida Highway Patrol Office Lt. Bill Leeper told “Land Line Now” charges are pending. He also said the driver was routinely
tested for alcohol or drug use, but those results aren’t in yet.
National Transportation Safety Board sent a team of investigators to Lake
Butler. NTSB said the team arrived Wednesday night.
Nebraska-based Crete Carrier issued a statement Wednesday saying, “Our
thoughts and prayers are with those involved in this accident and their
– Reed Black, staff writer