Man Killed when Pickup Truck Slams into Back of School Bus in Lapeer County

ATTICA TOWNSHIP, MI – On Wednesday October 9th, 2019, at 4:20 PM, Lapeer County 911 dispatched Lapeer County Sheriff’s Deputies to a traffic crash on Bowers Road to the west of Lake Pleasant Road in Attica Township. The initial information was the collision involved a school bus and a pickup truck.

It was established that an Imlay City Community School Bus (2012 IC Corporation) was traveling east on Bowers Road. The bus was transporting Imlay City Elementary School students home. The bus was stopped on the roadway in the eastbound lane of Bowers Road. The flashing red lights were activated and functioning properly. The stop sign on the left side of the bus was extended outwards. A student had just exited the bus and was released to a parent.

A 2001 Ford F-150 driven by 64-year-old Richard Gonda, of Attica, was traveling east on Bowers Road when his pickup truck slammed into the back of the stopped school bus. There were no indications of braking prior to the collision.

Attica Township Fire and Rescue extricated Richard Gonda from the vehicle. Gonda was transported to McLaren in Lapeer by Lapeer County EMS Ambulance Service. Shortly after arriving at the hospital, Richard Gonda was pronounced deceased.

The 43-year-old bus driver and 4 students on the bus were not injured. Imlay City Schools Transportation Department made arrangements for the driver and students to get home safely.

Preliminary investigation does not suggest that either alcohol or drugs were factors. The posted speed limit is 45 MPH and excessive speed does not appear to be a contributing factor. The Lapeer County Medical Examiner’s Office has ordered an autopsy.

The Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office had been contacted by numerous media outlets inquiring if a medical condition was a contributing factor in the traffic fatality. Forensic Pathologist Kanu Virani conducted an autopsy yesterday afternoon on behalf of the Lapeer County Medical Examiner’s Office. The autopsy concluded that medical distress was not a factor. The victim’s injuries sustained during the collision caused the fatality. His family was informed of those findings.

Bowers Road between Lake Pleasant Road and Lake George Road was closed for approximately 1 1?2 hours for rescue and investigative purposes.

The Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by Michigan State Police (Lapeer Post), Attica Township Fire and Rescue, and Lapeer County EMS Ambulance Service.

The crash remains under investigation by Lapeer County Sheriff’s Deputies. Anyone with information can contact Deputy Nick Vandenberg (810-245-2449 or nvandenberg@lapeercounty.org) or Detective Sergeant Jason Parks (810-656-1015 or jparks@lapeercounty.org).

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