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PSP investigating bus crash

February 26, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

FAYETTEVILLE, Pa. -- All of the children and adults injured in Wednesday morning's school bus accident in Guilford Township, Pa., were recovering Thursday, and Pennsylvania State Police were preparing to inspect the heavily damaged vehicles for any signs of mechanical malfunctions.

Two of the three children who were taken to hospitals returned Thursday to Fayetteville Elementary School, said Sylvia Rockwood, director of information services for the Chambersburg (Pa.) Area School District.

The third child stayed home to recuperate from soreness, she said.

"We just talked to the bus driver, and he's doing well," Rockwood said Thursday afternoon.

Veron C. Bachman Jr., 67, was a substitute driver for Bus No. 174's route when the crash occurred about 8:30 a.m. in the 3300 block of Mont Alto Road. The bus was rear-ended by an Allegheny Power utility truck driven by Jeffery Lynn Kriner, 46, of Chambersburg.

A helicopter flew Kriner from the scene to York (Pa.) Hospital, where he remained in satisfactory condition Thursday afternoon.

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Rockwood said Bachman continually praised the children's bravery when he talked to district officials.

A guidance counselor rode the route with students Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Parents of the 46 children involved received phone calls Wednesday and letters Thursday.

Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Ed Asbury said his colleagues were continuing their investigation, but speed did not appear to be a factor in the crash. Both Kriner and Bachman were wearing seat belts.

"They're going to have the bus and the truck, which I believe was a new truck, in for inspection," Asbury said.

The Chambersburg Area School District owned the damaged bus, which had been a substitute one on the route that day.

In 2007, the latest year for which statistics are available, Pennsylvania had 446 accidents involving school buses, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says U.S. students are "nearly eight times safer riding in a school bus than with their own parents and guardians in cars," citing a low rate of fatalities when equalizing the number of miles traveled. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded lap belts could increase the occurrence of neck and abdominal injuries.

National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration test demonstrates how a school bus handles impact.

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