LAKELAND, Fla. — A 15-year-old bicyclist suffered fatal injuries Tuesday morning in a crash involving a school bus.

The crash happened in the 3900 block of Pipkin Road just before 7 a.m., according to Lakeland Police.

Family identified the teen as Jaxon Crabtree.

What You Need To Know

  • A 15-year-old boy was hit by a bus Tuesday morning while riding his bike; he later died at a hospital

  • The crash happened on Pipkin Road just before 7 a.m., according to Lakeland Police

  • The bicyclist was a student at Central Florida Aerospace Academy

Officers responded to the area and found Crabtree unresponsive after being struck by a Schools of McKeel Academy school bus.

In addition to Lakeland Police, Polk County Fire Rescue and the Lakeland Fire Department all responded and began life-saving measures.

Crabtree was taken to Lakeland Regional Health where he was pronounced dead. Officials said he was a student who attended Central Florida Aerospace Academy.


“This is a horrific accident that has occurred this morning, police Chief Sam Taylor said. "Obviously 20 days before Christmas, makes it even worse. Our Chaplains are up with the parents now.”


Based on evidence found at the scene, officers believe Crabtree was attempting to cross Pipkin Road when he was struck by the bus. The bus driver, who was not injured, remained at the scene.

"It doesn’t appear that school bus was speeding, doesn’t appear that speed was a factor or that the school bus driver did anything," Taylor said, adding that the 71-year-old driver was "extremely upset by the circumstances.”

There were no other injuries.

Lakeland police said they are are going to see if the area can be improved with more lighting and signs. They will work with traffic engineers in the coming days.

Statement from The Schools of McKeel Academy

The Schools of McKeel Academy released a statement on the crash: 

Dear Families, 

This morning we learned of a tragic accident involving one of our buses and a PCPS student. No mere words can offer any solace. Our hearts are broken over this accident and tragic loss of a young life. We join our PCPS family and the family of the student as our community processes this enormous grief. 

The Schools of McKeel Academy will fully cooperate with law enforcement throughout the investigation. 

Family sets up fundraiser for funeral expenses

Family have organized a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral expenses and a meal train to help Jaxon Crabtree's mother during this time.

“I was in shock. I’m still in shock,” said Summer Coons, a cousin.

Coons said she was speechless when she learned of Crabtree’s death.

“He was a very sweet boy, very adventurous,” Coons said. “He loved science, he loved - everything, aviation.”

Coons said in addition to his parents and two brothers, Crabtree leaves behind a large extended family.

“It’s been a real traumatic thing for everyone in our family and his friends,” she said., or any other third-party online fundraiser, is not managed by Spectrum Bay News 9 or Spectrum News 13. For more information on how GoFundMe works and its rules, visit