VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - After a Navy man was killed in a crash involving a Virginia Beach school bus Tuesday morning, injured students who were on the bus were transported to two different local hospitals.
Non of the students were seriously hurt, but doctors checked the high schoolers out as a precaution. WAVY News' Don Roberts was at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital Tuesday and spoke with two students as they were released after treatment.
"I'm still in shock ... I feel for the man who was hurt," said 16-year-old Macy, a Virginia Beach schools student.
Bayside High School students Macy and Catherine were ready to get back to class immediately after they left the hospital, but what happened during the crash was still fresh on their minds. The two girls were sitting in the middle of Virginia Beach City School bus #66 when it slammed into a car.
"I was sleeping on the bus and my head was on the window, and I hit the window and the back of my book bad," Macy said. "And I heard people yelling that there was a man under the bus."
"My friends started yelling 'slow down, slow down,' so I looked up and my head bumped into the seat in front of me," Catherine said.
Both girls say they saw smoke rising around the windows of the bus. Some students started crying, but they all got off the bus safely and watched the aftermath. Macy and Catherine say they were worried about their bus driver, as well.
"He started hugging some of us, and then I felt really bad for him because he's one of the nicest bus drivers," Catherine said.
The girls called their parents, and Catherine's mom, Francesca Delacruz spoke with WAVY.com outside Sentara Princess Anne Hospital.
"When I saw the accident, ohhh, I got nervous," Delacruz said.
But both girls were not seriously hurt and actually wanted to go back to school.
"We both have a test and I have a game," Catherine said.
"I told her to just go home and relax, but she insisted," Delacuz said.
Students who didn't go to the hospital were put on a replacement bus and taken to Bayside High School. WAVY News' Ava Hurdle spoke with students and parents at the school about what they went through Tuesday morning.
"We were driving and a guy was out of his car, and the kid in front of me was yelling 'stop, stop!,'" said student Natalia Torres. "The bus was on top of the back of the car. The guy was underneath the bus and the bus was smoking."
Torres' mother told WAVY.com she was upset she never got a call from the school about the crash.
"I found out about this because my daughter called me and told me. No one called me and let me know anything," Lizette Torres said. "I only know what's going on because my daughter called me from her friend's phone to let me know what was going on."
The replacement bus along with Bayside's assistant principal returned the uninjured students to school.
"She rode back with them to the school. Once they were there, there were counselors available and school staff to make sure everyone was able to call their parents right away, to reassure them they were okay," said Eileen Cox, a Virginia Beach Public Schools spokeswoman.
Still, Natalia Torres says the accident left her and other students shaken.
"I broke down crying because nothing like this has ever happened before. Like today I though I was going to go to school and everything would be fine," Torres said. "A lot of people were crying, calling parents, frantic, shaken. A couple of people were having panic attacks. It was not good. We got on another bus to come here and a lot of kids were saying they were not going to get back on the bus because of what happened."
WAVY’s Erin Kelly spoke with a student in another school bus who saw the crash. Bianca Cowell’s bus was headed to Renaissance academy on Holland Road and was right near the intersection with Independence Boulevard when she saw a man in the road next to his car.
Cowell saw another bus his the man and says she may never ride on a school bus again.
“I guess he was picking up something, I guess he dropped something. And he picked it up and I just looked away, then all I see is the bus just smash into him,” Cowell said. “I was saying to myself, ‘Please don't let him be dead. Please don't let him be dead.’”
Cowell went to a local hospital, finding it hard to breathe after what she'd seen.
“I was shaking. My hands wouldn't stop shaking. I was crying,” she said.
Cowell sent us video she shot from her own school bus. She says she doesn't know how the driver of bus #66 couldn't avoid Montes.
“[The man in the road] had his blinkers on, so it wasn't like he didn't make sure he wasn't wrong or something. He had the blinkers on,” she said.
WAVY.com asked Virginia Beach Police if Montes had his hazard lights on before the crash, but investigators couldn’t provide any information about that, yet.
Eileen Cox with Virginia Beach Public Schools released the following statement from the school division about Cowell's interview with WAVY.com about the crash:
The school division looked into whether or not the witness could have seen the accident occur. After reviewing route information and speaking with the driver of the bus on which this child was a passenger, it appears that her bus passed by the scene after the accident had taken place. Therefore, we believe that it is unlikely that she witnessed the impact between the bus and the victim's car.
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