Two Carroll school buses involved in minor accidents

11 students slightly hurt in first crash

no reports of injuries in second one

May 08, 1999|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Eleven North Carroll High School students and three motorists suffered minor injuries in the first of two accidents involving county school buses in yesterday's early morning mist and fog, state police said.

Twenty-four William Winchester Elementary pupils, a bus driver and a motorist were uninjured in the second incident when, according to state police, the bus driver backed into a car that had stopped behind the bus on Old Manchester Road in Westminster at 9: 15 a.m.

Bus driver Cleo D. Walters, 70, of New Windsor was charged with unsafe backing, state police said.

The driver of the car, Laura N. Fisher, 34, of Westminster, was not charged.

Neither driver was injured in the accident, which state police called "extremely minor."

Tfc. Craig Williams of the Westminster barracks said the first accident occurred in front of North Carroll High at 7: 46 a.m. when a Pontiac Sunfire pulled from Panther Drive into the path of a county dump truck traveling east on Route 482.

The truck struck the left rear side of the Pontiac, sending the car spinning into a field across Route 482, Williams said.

The truck continued east, spinning and striking a Ford Mustang and a school bus that were stopped in the westbound lane of Route 482 and waiting to turn left onto Panther Drive, he said.

Danielle Ryan, a 16-year-old sophomore who was a passenger on the school bus, said she heard the bus driver yell but did not have time to brace herself before the dump truck crashed into the front of the bus.

"The force knocked us back, then forward, and the truck kept spinning, hitting the side of the bus," she said.

Ryan said most of the bus' passengers had been dropped off at North Carroll Middle School before the accident at the high school.

"There wasn't much screaming," Ryan said. "The worst [injury] I heard about was one girlfriend who said her neck hurt."

Ambulances from Westminster, Lineboro and Baltimore County took the students, ranging in age from 14 to 17, and three of the four drivers to Carroll County General Hospital. Hospital officials had activated a disaster plan to quickly treat the injured.

Doctors, nurses and radiology technicians set up three triage stations to accept the patients, said Teresa Fletcher, a hospital spokeswoman.

The injured students and drivers were treated for minor injuries and released within about 90 minutes, she said.

The bus driver, John Alan Jones, 54, of Hampstead, was not injured.

The driver of the Pontiac, Steven L. Gesell, 30, of Manchester, was charged with failing to obey a stop sign, failing to yield the right of way and negligent driving, state police said.

The driver of the dump truck, James A. Bloom, 56, of Littlestown, Pa., and the driver of the Ford, Shawna L. Smith, 17, of Manchester, were not charged.

Light rain was falling, but visibility was not a factor in the accident, Williams said.

Pub Date: 5/08/99

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