Driver charged after overturned school bus sends 19 children to hospitals

EDGECOMBE COUNTY, NC (WITN) - The Highway Patrol has charged the driver of a school bus that ran off the road and landed on its side, injuring 19 of the 20 children on board.

Troopers say the crash happened around 7:20 a.m. Friday on Stallings Road near Macclesfield in Edgecombe County.

Bus #357 from Carver Elementary School had 20 students on board. Troopers say 13 children were taken to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, while another six were transported to Vidant Edgecombe Hospital in Tarboro.

The Highway Patrol says one child's injuries are serious, but not life-threatening.

Sheriff James Knight told WITN that the driver, Julianne Bridgers, of Pinetops, swerved to avoid a deer that ran out in front of the bus.

Troopers charged the 40-year-old driver with reckless driving.

David Saulter said he called 911 after hearing the squealing of the bus tires. He then ran out to help Bridgers get students out of the overturned bus.

"The bus driver was passing them out of the window and I was taking them out the window," Saulter said. "Then I got in the bus for the one that they carried to the hospital first and helped her take that kid out."


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Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight tells WITN that 15 elementary aged students were injured when a school bus turned over Friday morning.

It happened around 7:40 a.m. near the intersection of Stallings Road and Edgewood Church Road.

Of the 15 injured, eleven of the students were taken to a hospital. All suffered minor or non-life threatening injuries, we're told. There were a total of 19 children on the bus.

Sheriff Knight says the bus driver told authorities that she swerved to avoid deer that had run out in front of the bus.

David Saulter said he called 911 after hearing the squealing of the bus tires. He then ran out to help the bus driver get students out of the overturned bus.

"The bus driver was passing them out of the window and I was taking them out the window," Saulter said. "Then I got in the bus for the one that they carried to the hospital first and helped her take that kid out."

A school system spokeswoman says the bus was on its way to G.W. Carver Elementary School in Pinetops when it rolled over.

Another bus was brought in to take the uninjured students on to school.

The road has since reopened to traffic and the Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.