Truck Driver Charged, 17 Hurt In School Bus Accident

The Highway Patrol has charged the driver of a box truck that slammed into the back of a stopped school bus this morning. Sixteen students and the truck driver were taken to CarolinaEast Medical Center for treatment.

The accident happened on Highway 55 near Reelsboro in Pamlico County. Troopers say the bus was stopped to pick up a child when the truck came around a curve and couldn't stop. The bus had it's red flashing lights on, and the trooper says the bus driver saw the approaching truck and knew that she was going to be hit so she didn't open the door for the child.

Sidney Rountree of Grifton has been charged with unsafe movement and having no operators license.

The Highway Patrol says nine students were taken to the hospital by rescue crews, three were brought in by their parents, while another four are being brought in from the school. The trooper says the students received mostly neck and back injuries.

The students injured range in age from 11 to 17 years old and all had been released from the hospital by late Tuesday afternoon. School officials say there were 27 students on the bus.


Previous Story

An accident involving a school bus and a six-wheel box truck injured 10 people. Emergency officials say the wreck happened on Highway 55 near Reelsboro in Pamlico County.

Emergency management says nine students and the driver the 2-ton box truck went to CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern.

The principal of Pamlico County Middle School, Lisa Jackson, says none of the injuries are being considered life-threatening. Jackson says all the other students on the bus were taken to school by another school bus.

The bus was transporting students to Pamlico County Middle School and Pamlico County High School when the wreck happened Wednesday morning, according to Jackson.

In a phone interview with WITN, Jackson said the school bus driver was completely stopped when the truck rear-ended the bus. The impact pushed the bus a distance from where it was stopped.

No charges have been filed at this time.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by funding isnt the issue Location: new bern on Feb 26, 2011 at 12:07 PM
    i work in the school systems and i can assure everyone that if the studies showed that seatbelts on buses were vital they would have them...lack funding is NOT the reason school buses do not have seat-belts! if it was a huge safety issue then i'm sure that funding for training wkshps and other programs would be cut if there was a lack of funding for seat-belts. yes there r always 'special' situations that children may be in danger but there r also special situations that seatbelts r the cause of childrens deaths in accidents as well. WHATS THE ANSWER TO FIX THIS?????we can only try to prevent deadly accidents but we can not avoid them all. in my opinion children r more safe on buses without seat-belts than with seat-belts...
  • by Anonymous on Feb 25, 2011 at 09:10 PM
    To Anonymous: I think you said everything OK.. I could understand it and my 6 year old understood it. so please do not let the statement from ME stop you from saying whats on your mind. They are probly the one running your stop sign cause its all in capital letters. Keep up the good work getting our kids to school and home safe.. It takes a good person to be able to drive a bus.... My kids bus driver is the best she takes care of the kids as if they were hers. Thanks again to all bus drivers.
  • by Me on Feb 25, 2011 at 12:30 PM
    To Anonymous: I hope you can drive that bus better than you write. What is it with no capital letters, mo punctuation and the waful grammar?
  • by Anonymous on Feb 24, 2011 at 03:45 PM
    the bus was not stopped on a blind curve you can see almost 3 th of a mile ahead of you when you are in the curve wicth is way over 300ft from the stop and the driver put on here light at least 300ft before stopping... i know cause i drive a bus on that route everyday.. the biggest problem is that when they see a bus in front of them they floor board it to get pass the bus.. i make several stop on Hyw 55 everyday and my stop sign gets ran just about everyday.. and its hard for us to get a decription of the driver make and modle of car and license plate number before anything can be done..for the one that said bus driver are not trained did not have my trainer. it was hours of class work and road training.. But truck driver with CDLS only has to read a book and take a test..wow something wrong with this picture. stop blamming buses the road and speed limit it was the man driving the trucks fault and no one else....
  • by Greg Location: craven on Feb 23, 2011 at 07:55 PM
    Patrick, I have an elderly aunt that lives down chair road. Regardless of what you say it is a dangerous place to try and get out of in the mornings. I go by there every morning and see people almost start to pull out and have to stop again for traffic coming around that curve. The speed limit was fine at 45. The difference in getting to grantsboro traveling 45 versus traveling 60 is less than a minute. I don't see the advantage.
  • by What the Experts Say on Feb 23, 2011 at 07:18 PM
    The following in from the article “School Bus Safety” By Christine Beaudry found on the Internet Think your safest bet is to avoid the bus and drive your child to school? You may want to reconsider. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), "school buses are the safest motor vehicles on the highways." Children are nearly eight times safer riding a school bus than with their own parents or peers. Most crashes involving school buses are frontal or rear crashes, says Michael Martin, Executive Director of the National Association for Pupil Transportation. "Kids are usually thrown back against the seat or forward into it. The seat absorbs the impact, and the energy is absorbed across the entire upper torso of a child. If the child is wearing a lap belt, the child is hinged at the waist… the upper torso gets whipped forward and the vast majority of the impact is absorbed by the head." The head, spinal and abdominal injuries associated with "lap belt syndrome" are especially likely with younger kids because they are in early development stages and carry a disproportionate amount of body weight in the upper body, mainly their heads. Martin says that while not as effective as in frontal or rear crashes, compartmentalization is still effective in side impact or angled impact crashes. "The federal government has done research that a student is probably at greater risk wearing a belt in a side impact crash than if not wearing one," he says, again stating the dangers of lap belt syndrome.
  • by Patrick Location: Reelsboro on Feb 23, 2011 at 05:42 PM
    I live in the area of the accident. The curve and the speed limit are not the problem. There should have been plenty of time for the driver to stop if he was paying attention. The driver of the truck should not have been on the road in the first place. The driver of the bus should be commended for her actions and great decision making. Being a realist, accidents are going to happen, but this one could have been avoided if the truck driver had not been behind the wheel. He should never be allowed to get behind the wheel again.
  • by I KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT! on Feb 23, 2011 at 05:13 PM
    the children actually were okay in the crash because the bus seats are designed to protect well during front end or back end crashes. the seats are higher and padded. however, should a school bus be hit on the side or roll over, there is little protection. many fatalities have occurred in these cases. seatbelts would have prevented the fatalities. perhaps there should be a bus assistant who makes sure everyone stays buckled,but my argument to yours is-should parents not drive with their kids in the car then, if its not safe for us to worry about our kids staying buckled in while driving? all my kids stay buckled in, they know its for their safety and protection. school age kids are old enough to know this. the reason there arent seatbelts is due to funding. the state recommends it but doesnt enforce it because they really cant afford it. hopefully they wont have to afford lawsuits in the event of fatalities or serious injuries. ive done my research and i know what i talk about!
  • by Greg Location: craven on Feb 23, 2011 at 04:10 PM
    part2 I think the speed limit should be lowered there back to 45. It's only a 1/2 mile long area that really is too congested for traffic trying to get onto 55. Headed east once you get to the cemetary in reelsboro make it 45 there and once you past Neuse rd (1005) and clear that curve bring it back to 55. This will not however prevent a accident like this morning. When people are intent on driving and not paying attention to the road I don't know how you stop that. It's intresting that someone that is driving a mail system delivery truck would not have a driver's license. I would encourage those that live in Reelsboro to push for a reduction in speed there.
  • by Greg Location: Craven on Feb 23, 2011 at 04:04 PM
    I came up not long after this happened. A central bus stop would not change anything here unless you made the kid walk down the road to the store in Reelsboro. I doubt the parents of that 1 kid are going to do that. What I see as the problem is that when they 4 laned this road they moved the speed limit from 45 to 55. Now every one of us is guilty of pushing the limits. In reality most everyone drives 60 in a 55. No highway patrolman will stop you for 60 in a 55. It's a given. I change lanes to the right lane before I get to that curve because I know a bus stops just aroung the bend but also because of cars trying to pull out into the road from the intersection that is just that bend. (before where the bus stops) I have alway's thought it was wrong of the people living in that small area to have to fight cars coming around that curve to get in the road. A young kid with a new found drivers license need only make a small mistake in judgement there to get killed. end of part 1
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