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Accident involving school bus sends some to hospital

October 08, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

A Washington County school bus carrying children from Eastern Elementary School was involved in an accident with a pickup truck, a dump truck and another vehicle Monday afternoon on Dual Highway.

Several youngsters were taken to Washington County Hospital with minor injuries as ambulances from as far away as Clear Spring and Boonsboro converged on the scene following the 3:44 p.m. crash west of the Mount Aetna Road cutoff.

A nursing supervisor said 10 children and one adult were treated at the hospital and released.

Washington County Public Schools spokeswoman Carol Mowen said Bus 391 had left the school on Yale Drive just before the accident.

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Deputy 1st Class John Martin of the Washington County Sheriff's Department said five children were taken to the hospital along with the occupants of two of the other vehicles.

"It was scary but I'm OK," one girl said through the window of the damaged bus as she waited her turn to move to the alternate bus.

A couple of children were placed on backboards at the scene in case of neck or back injuries.

"Eastern Principal Tim Abe and Assistant Principal Cheryl Lannon went to the scene as soon as they learned of the accident," Mowen said. They were assisted by guidance counselor Julie Van Meter, who joined the uninjured students on another bus as they were taken to their scheduled drop-off points.

As the children were being transferred to the undamaged bus, a number of parents and other adults showed up at the accident scene. Some of the children were released to parents but most were placed on the other bus because of security concerns.

Even though the accident was outside city limits, Hagerstown Fire Battalion Chief Randy Myers responded to the first call and remained to help throughout the incident.

Martin's investigation was continuing.

Schools Director of Transportation Chris Carter said when an accident of this type occurs he calls 911, sends out transportation staff and mechanics, a spare bus and possibly an accompanying school administrator to help check students and determine which ones can go home on the spare bus.

Staff writer Pepper Ballard contributed to this story.

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