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School bus accident is fifth in Berkeley Co. since August

Schools finalizing monthlong 'school bus safety' campaign

Schools finalizing monthlong 'school bus safety' campaign

September 30, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Two elementary school students were treated at City Hospital in Martinsburg after a sport utility vehicle struck the bus they were riding Wednesday morning.

The students, who attend Potomack Intermediate and Bedington Elementary schools, complained of head or neck pain and were taken by ambulance to the hospital. They were released about 10:30 a.m., according to Berkeley County Schools spokesperson Jaimee Borger.

West Virginia State Police investigated the accident, which Borger said was believed to be the fifth collision involving a school bus since classes began in August.

"It's five too many," Borger said.

Borger said the SUV reportedly backed into the rear of the bus that was carrying 19 students while it was stopped at the intersection of Hanshew Lane and Atlas Street in the Berkeley Village subdivision at 8:12 a.m.

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The bus was stopped at a stop sign, waiting to make a right-hand turn when the SUV clipped the rear bumper and the left, rear quarter panel, Borger said.

The SUV was driven by a parent who had been waiting at a nearby school bus stop, Borger said.

Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Manny P. Arvon II said the school district was finalizing a monthlong "school bus safety" public relations campaign to remind motorists, parents and students to be careful and pay attention to buses on area roads.

"We make over 5,000 stops a day," Arvon said. "This has been unusual, I think, in the last few weeks," Arvon said.

None of the bus drivers has been found at fault in any of the accidents and the school district has been fortunate that there have not been any serious injuries, Borger said. Most of the collisions have involved motorists who have rear-ended a bus, Borger said. Two accidents occurred in rainy conditions in one day last month and other accidents happened when no children were aboard, Borger said.

On the first day of school, a bus carrying Paw Paw (W.Va.) High School students from Morgan County was involved in a four-vehicle accident on W.Va. 9 in Berkeley County west of Hedgesville, W.Va., but no one was injured, police and school officials said.

The driver at fault was cited for failure to slow down to avoid a collision with stopped traffic, police said.

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