NEW INFO: School Bus Driver Charged, On Administrative Leave After Crash With Van

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A school bus driver was charged for causing a crash with a van that sent eight people to the hospital. That driver is now on administrative leave with the school system.

The Highway Patrol says 71-year-old Russell Spence of LaGrange is charged with an unsafe movement violation after colliding with a van on Highway 70 Friday morning. There was thick fog at the time of the accident.

Troopers say Spence collided with the van as the bus was turning left onto Highway 70 from Beston Road around 7:15 a.m. The van was headed west, but Spence did not see it coming in the fog.

Three people were in the Carolina Paint Co. van, and two were taken to the hospital. The most severe injuries were suffered by the passenger in the front seat. Fire crews had to cut the driver, 20-year-old Marion West IV, out of the vehicle. He will have surgery on his leg, according to the Highway Patrol. Both are expected to survive.

A spokesman for Wayne County Schools says eleven students were on the bus. Six were transported to the hospital by ambulance. The Highway Patrol says they are all in good condition, and their transport was mostly out of precaution. The other five students were released to their parents.

The school system says Spence, who has been a bus driver for almost 15 years, has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation.

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Thick fog played a factor in a school bus crash this morning in Wayne County that sent eight people to the hospital.

The Highway Patrol says the accident happened around 7:15 a.m. at the U.S. 70 and Beston Road intersection, east of Goldsboro.

They say the Wayne County school bus was turning east onto Highway 70 from Beston Road, but because of the fog the driver did not see the oncoming van, which was heading west.

The van struck the driver side of the bus.

Six of the eleven students on the bus were taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital via ambulance. A school spokesman said he did not know if any of the injuries were severe. Five other students were released to their parents.

Two of the three people inside the van were taken to the hospital as well. The van's driver had to be cut out of the vehicle.

The bus was heading to Eastern Wayne High School.

Troopers say charges are pending.

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The Highway Patrol said a school bus wreck has called out multiple emergency crews in Wayne County Friday morning.

A school bus collided with a van along Highway 70 near Beston Road with reported injuries, though the severity of the injuries is not known at this time.

Beston Road is between Goldsboro and LaGrange.

David Lewis, a school systems spokesman, says there were children on board at the time, but he could not immediately confirm which school they were from or if any were injured.

Dispatchers said traffic along Highway 70 near the wreck site was starting to back up around 7:50 a.m. Friday.

Damage suggests the van hit the bus on the driver's side near the middle of the bus. There was thick fog at the time, but we don't know yet what role that may have played in the accident.

The Department of Transportation said the westbound lanes of Highway 70 nearest Beston Road will likely be closed to traffic until about 9:30 a.m.

We will bring you updates on this breaking news story as soon as they become available.