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Van strikes school bus resulting in minor injuries

October 12, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Three Berkeley County school girls were treated for minor injuries Wednesday at City Hospital after the bus taking them home was struck by a minivan on W.Va. 9 near Opequon Lane, West Virginia State Police said.

The minivan driver, Jennifer Dick, 31, of Berkeley County, also was treated at the hospital for what police said were minor injuries, State Police Trooper M.A. Cole said. Employed by REM Inc., Dick was cited for failure to maintain control, Cole said.

Four adults with special needs riding in the minivan - a 2004 silver-gray Ford Freestar - also were taken to the hospital, three as a precaution and one for treatment of what Cole believed were minor injuries. Two of the school girls injured were 13 and the other was 15, Cole said. The girls were treated and released, police said.

School bus driver Dawn Murray, 37, of Berkeley County, was not injured. Murray told police she reduced her speed when she saw the van traveling east cross the center line as she drove west on W.Va. 9, Cole said. Murray then attempted to avoid the collision, but the van still struck the front corner of the bus on the driver's side, said Cole, who investigated the accident with Trooper B.A. Chandler.

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"At least half of the van was positioned in the eastbound lane at the time of the crash," Cole said.

The troopers could not find any skid marks leading up the point of collision, but Cole also noted the accident location was in a "bad section" where he had previously investigated a fatal accident.

Both vehicles, the school district's yellow 1994 International bus and minivan, were towed from the scene, Cole said.

The accident shut down W.Va. 9 for about 90 minutes and Baker Heights Volunteer Fire Department assisted with traffic congestion, Cole said. Berkeley County EMS crews transported the patients.

Cole said about 26 students from Martinsburg High and South Middle schools were on the bus. Those not injured eventually boarded another bus and were taken home, according to Jaimee Borger, the school district's director of communications.

The injured students were more scared than anything else when school administrators and staff went to City Hospital to meet them when they arrived.

"Nobody was alone," Borger said. "It was a true team effort."

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