10 students, driver treated for minor injuries after Chambersburg school bus crash

January 20, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER and DON AINES |;
  • A Chambersburg Area School District bus carrying 10 students to Benjamin Chambers Elementary School in Chambersburg, Pa., rolled over Friday morning following a collision at the intersection of Glen and High streets in Chambersburg.
By Roxann Miller/Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Ten students and a bus driver were treated for minor injuries at Chambersburg Hospital following a crash that ended with a school bus on its side Friday morning, according to the hospital.

The accident at Glen and High streets, involving a Chambersburg Area School District bus and a Saturn Vue sport utility vehicle, was reported at about 8:47 a.m., Cpl. Jon Greenawalt of the Chambersburg Police Department said.

Catherine Dusman, assistant superintendent of the Chambersburg Area School District, said the bus was about one minute from its destination at Benjamin Chambers Elementary School on Franklin Street when the accident occurred.

Ten children, ranging in age from 6 to 11 years, and one adult were taken to the hospital’s emergency room,  according to a hospital news release. All were treated for minor injuries including bumps and lacerations, the release said.

At 11 a.m., the bus driver, who declined to give her name, said all of the children had been released from the hospital.

The driver of the SUV and a passenger were unhurt in the collision, Greenawalt said.

The SUV was traveling south on High Street when it ran a stop sign and hit the bus at the Glen Street intersection, according to Greenawalt.

“I thought I was in space when it rolled over,” said 10-year-old Austin Katavitch, a fourth-grader at Benjamin Chambers Elementary.

“Stuff shattered in my eye,” said Austin, who had a bruised left eye as he walked out of the Chambersburg Hospital emergency room.

“When the bus got hit ... I heard like the bus skidding,” said Dean Burghard, 9. “The bus rolled over, and I landed on the roof, and the bus landed on its side, and I ended up on a window.”

The collision sent him momentarily into midair, Dean said.

The bus ended up on its passenger side. Damage to the front could be seen on the 2006 Saturn SUV.

Dean said he was not hurt in the crash, but his father, James Burghard, said all of the passengers were “boarded and braced” for safety reasons by ambulance personnel.

When they were outside the bus, Dean Burghard said one girl said “she wanted her mommy — a lot.”

Alexis Helman, 6, sustained a bump on her forehead and a cut on her hand, said her mother, Nikki Neidigh.

“She’s very lucky. All the children are very lucky, and the bus driver is, too,” Neidigh said as they were leaving the hospital.

The bus driver said she was bruised from her seat belt when the bus rolled over onto its passenger side.

“There are no words to describe what you feel when you come upon a scene like this,” Dusman said.

Standing coatless and shivering on the sidewalk, Stephen Thompson of Chambersburg said he was the driver of the SUV.

Thompson said he didn’t see the stop sign at the intersection due to the glare of the morning sun.

He was relieved no one was seriously hurt.

“I’m just sorry this all happened,” he said.

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