16-Year-Old Student Who Jumped From School Bus Identified | News

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16-Year-Old Student Who Jumped From School Bus Identified
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JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - Jacksonville Beach Police have identified a 16-year-old student who jumped out the back door of his moving school bus Friday morning and landed on Beach Boulevard.

Jessie Herr of Jacksonville Beach was one of several students on board the bus carrying students to Grand Park Center and Mattie V. Rutherford Alternative Education Center. The bus was traveling on Beach Boulevard westbound at the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge when Herr jumped out of the back of the bus.

Herr got up and walked to the back of the bus, opened the exit door and jumped onto the roadway, according to Sergeant Thomas Bingham with the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.

"At some point, he opened the back door and he went out the back of the bus," Bingham said.

"We can say very clearly without hesitation or reservation that he jumped on his own," Bingham later said. The police do not believe that this was an accident.

The bus was traveling at about 40 miles per hour when Herr exited and landed on Beach Blvd.

"There were no reports of another crash. He was not struck by another vehicle," Bingham said.

Herr was airlifted to Shands Jacksonville with life-threatening injuries.  Bingham said his condition was still listed as critical Monday afternoon.

Investigators spoke with all students that were on the bus at the time of the incident. They were eventually released to parents at the scene or taken to their school on another school bus.

Jill Johnson with Duval County Public Schools said the back exit door on the school bus is always unlocked for safety reasons, so students can exit the bus in case of an emergency.

Richard Patten has been involved in student transportation for more than 50 years. He says the rear emergency door can neither be locked or blocked.

Patten, who owns Patten Transporaton in Atlantic Beach, says when the door handle is lifted up, an alarm or buzzer goes off warning the bus driver the door has been opened.

"That would tear me up," said Patten when asked how he would feel if a student somehow jumped out of a moving bus through the rear door. 

Grief counselors are being made available to the students that were on the bus at the time of the incident, according to Jill Johnson.

All westbound lanes of Beach Boulevard were blocked for several hours.

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