Driver passes out school bus injuries avoided

Aide who does not drive shifts vehicle into park

September 27, 1997|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A city school bus driver suffered a diabetic seizure and passed out at the wheel yesterday morning on the Jones Falls Expressway, causing the vehicle to collide with a car before hitting a concrete barrier, police said. No children were aboard, and no one was seriously hurt.

A quick-thinking aide, 65-year-old Pauline Pritchett -- who police said does not drive -- shifted the bus into park, preventing a more serious accident. "She doesn't know how to drive, but she stopped the bus," said Officer Angelique Cook-Hayes, a police spokeswoman.

Police said the bus was being driven south on the JFX when its driver, James Fields Jr., passed out. The bus swerved into another lane and hit a car, causing minor damage.

Police said Pritchett's actions forced the bus into a Jersey barrier.

Pritchett was not hurt. Police said Fields suffered minor injuries in the crash and was treated at Mercy Medical Center. The 9: 15 a.m. accident caused a several-mile backup during yesterday's morning rush hour.

Pub Date: 9/27/97

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