ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) - Counselors will be on hand at Elizabeth City Middle School andPasquotank County High School Wednesday, for students who need totalk about Tuesday's school bus crash.
A school bus carrying 40 students from the two schools wasinvolved in a collision with a pick-up truck just after 3:30 p.m.,near the corner of Route 17 and Main Street Extended.
Trooper Wood with the North Carolina Highway Patrol said therewere no skid marks at the scene, so if the woman driving thepick-up truck was going the speed limit, she could have been going60 mph when it T-boned the bus.
Noblitt said the accident involved bus #137, which carriesElizabeth City Middle School students and Pasquotank County HighSchool students. Forty-one of the students were transported toAlbemarle Hospital to be checked out, with mostly minor injuries.One student was transported by air to Sentara Norfolk GeneralHospital.
The crash happened so quickly, said Elizabeth City Middlestudent Donta Harris. "The truck just came out of nowhere; it hitus. That's all I remember."
Harris said he, like several other students, blacked out onimpact.
"When I woke up, I was over by the gas station in the grasswithout my shoes on," said Joseph Damron, a Pasquotank Highstudent. "I don't know what happened. I looked over and I saw thebus on its side, and a smashed truck, and blood everywhere, andpeople crying."
Nikki White was on her way home from work when she noticed theaftermath of the collision.
"I had come off the overpass and I just saw smoke. So I hurriedas fast as I could to the scene and there were kids just screamingeverywhere," she said.
White said she watched as paramedics tried to help the woman whohad been driving the pickup.
"She was pinned in, they actually had to cut her out of thetruck."
Carolina Helicopter transported the driver to Sentara NorfolkGeneral. There was no update on her condition or the student'scondition late Tuesday night.
School Superintendent Linwood Williams said the bus driver andthe other students had minor and less severe injuries than thepatients taken to Norfolk.
"We are very fortunate to have a first rate team that hascarried out our crisis plan in a reassuring and professionalmanner," said Williams. "I am very proud of the staff of ElizabethCity-Pasquotank Schools, the emergency medical staff at the sceneand the staff at Albemarle Hospital that are working together tomake sure that our students are receiving the best carepossible."
Parents told WAVY.com they are thankful the crash was not worse,and pleased with the school and hospital response.
"It was a lot of panic and the kids were all pretty upset in thebeginning," said Char Damron, Joseph's mother. "But [the schools]had a lot of staff here and they did a good job of comforting thekids and parents."
"I'm just happy that all the students were okay. There were somebumps, some injuries, but no fatalities," said Marie Harris,Donta's mother said.
North Carolina Highway Patrol is still investigating what led tothe crash. Troopers are expected to interview the pick-up truckdriver later this week. So far, no charges have been filed in thecrash.
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