Woman, 20, dies in school bus accident

4 Gateway students uninjured in crash

March 26, 2002|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A 20-year-old woman was killed yesterday afternoon when the car she was driving struck the rear of a Carroll County school bus that had stopped to make a left turn on Route 97 north of Westminster, state police said. None of the four students on board the bus was injured.

Melissa Nichole Corbin of the 3600 block of Cemetery Lane, near Union Mills, was driving a 1999 Honda with her dog in the car when the crash occurred at 2:36 p.m., according to state police at the Westminster barracks. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

It was not clear whether the dog contributed to the accident, but it was not injured, said Lt. Terry L. Katz, commander of the Westminster barracks.

The crash involved bus No. 314, which is operated by The ARC of Carroll County Inc. for The Gateway School, the county's alternative program for middle and high school students, according to police and school officials. The bus was traveling north on Route 97 and had stopped to make a left turn onto Stone Road when it was struck from behind on the road, where the speed limit is 50 mph.

Corbin apparently failed to reduce speed and struck the right rear of the bus, a 1999 International Harvester, which was not damaged, police said.

Although that particular bus generally carries six to 10 children home each afternoon, four students were on the bus at the time of the accident, according to school officials. The students were examined at the scene but not taken to a hospital, police said.

"They were shaken," Robert L. Cullison Jr., principal of The Gateway School in Westminster, said of the students, who were all high school age. "They were upset about what happened to them."

Cullison called the parents of the students to inform them about the accident. He said counselors would be available at the school today if students needed to talk about the accident.

The school bus driver, Ruth Ann Martin, 64, of the 600 block of Humbert Schoolhouse Road, near the Pennsylvania line, complained of neck and back pain and was taken by ambulance to Carroll County General Hospital in Westminster for an examination.

A spare bus was called to take the children home, said Carey Gaddis, Carroll County school spokeswoman. The children reached their homes 30 to 60 minutes behind schedule, Cullison said.

Route 97 was closed for two hours as a crash reconstruction team worked at the scene of the fatality, police said. A state police helicopter was called before the victim was pronounced dead, and an autopsy will be performed.

In his three years in Carroll, Katz said he knows of no fatality involving a school bus.

The breed of the dog was unknown, and it was taken to the nearby Humane Society of Carroll County Inc., police said.

Sun staff writer Maria Blackburn contributed to this article.

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