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W.Va. State Police: No evidence that driver tried to avoid collision with school bus

May 04, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — State police found no skid marks or other evidence to suggest that the driver of the car that crashed into a Berkeley County school bus on Interstate 81 Wednesday morning tried to avoid the collision. 

Mark Allen Diggs, 42, was on his way to work when the green Subaru Outback he was driving north on I-81 crossed into the grassy median and struck the school bus, according to West Virginia State Police Cpl. J.B. Flanigan.

Diggs was pronounced dead at the accident scene near the seven-mile marker in the vicinity of the I-81 exit for Tabler Station Road.

Flanigan said it appeared as if Diggs had the cruise-control activated on his vehicle.

Eleven children were taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, but none of them were seriously injured, authorities said.

The results of an autopsy on the crash victim were not expected until next week, Flanigan said.

Diggs was thrown into the median from the rear of his car, which struck the front left quarter panel of the bus, Flanigan said.

The impact knocked the Subaru around into the left side of the bus before momentum carried the car back into the median, where it stopped. 

Given the evidence, Flanigan said it appeared Diggs was not wearing his seatbelt, but he could not say for sure.

Flanigan said he expected to see a much more devastating crash scene upon arrival because a tractor-trailer was initially reported to have been part of the collision, which was reported at 6:50 a.m.

A southbound tractor-trailer traveling near the bus was able to avoid the oncoming car, he said.

 After being struck by the car, the bus veered off the east side of the southbound lane into the median, but the driver managed to maintain enough control to prevent the bus from overturning as it stopped, police said.

The bus driver did an “extremely good job” of keeping the bus from rolling over, Flanigan said.

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