Accident claims life of Attica man

ATTICA TOWNSHIP – A Lapeer County man died Wednesday afternoon when he crashed into the back of an Imlay City school bus, which was stopped to let a student off.

The bus was taking Imlay City Elementary School students home around 4:20 p.m. It stopped on Bowers Road near Lake Pleasant Road in the Attica Township area when the crash occurred.

The bus was facing east with its red flashing lights activated and the stop sign extended on the driver’s side, according to the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office.

A student had just gotten off the bus and joined a parent near the road when 64-year-old Richard Gonda crashed into the back in his 2001 Ford F-150 pickup truck. Investigators say there were no signs of him braking before the collision.

Lapeer County EMS transported Gonda to McLaren Lapeer Region hospital, where he was pronounced dead less than an hour after the crash. The 43-year-old bus driver and four other students on the bus were not hurt.

Imlay City Community Schools made other arrangements to transport the students home after the crash.

Police say neither drugs, alcohol nor excessive speed appear to be a factor in the crash. The Lapeer County Medical Examiner’s Office is planning an autopsy.