Students hurt in truck-bus collision

Pickup crosses center line on Baltimore County road

drivers also have injuries

October 16, 2003|By Laura Barnhardt and Hanah Cho | Laura Barnhardt and Hanah Cho,SUN STAFF

A pickup truck crossed the double yellow line and hit a school bus head-on yesterday afternoon, injuring 11 Baltimore County students on their way home from Perry Hall High School, police and school officials said.

The bus driver and the students were taken to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center and Franklin Square Hospital Center with minor injuries - including a cut lip, bumps and bruises - after the 2:35 p.m. accident on Raphel Road between Philadelphia and Mount Vista roads, authorities said.

It appeared that the driver of the 2003 Chevrolet Silverado, who was headed north on Raphel Road, had fallen asleep at the wheel, said Officer C.K. Parr, an accident reconstructionist. The truck hit the bus, heading south, on a slight curve in the two-lane road.

The driver of the truck, Charles S. Coleman, 46, of the 3700 block of Bay Road in Street, was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center with a fractured leg.

Both the truck driver and the driver of the school bus, Kimberly A. Fretwell, 41, of the 5600 block of Gunpowder Road in White Marsh, were wearing seat belts, said Parr.

Tire marks on the road indicate that the bus driver applied the brakes and skidded about 50 feet, said Charles Herndon, a county schools spokesman.

"It's a testament to the safety of our buses that this wasn't more serious," Herndon said.

School officials could not provide information about Fretwell's driving record, but Herndon said she was a regular driver for the school system. "There's no indication of a problem and nothing to indicate she was at fault," he said.

Herndon said that school counselors and administrators were sent to the hospitals to greet the students, ages 14 to 17, arriving by ambulance and to help parents find their children.

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