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August 15, 2013

No students injured when pickup rear ends school bus

BRAZIL — Fortunately, no students were injured in a Wednesday morning school bus accident on U.S. 40 west of Brazil.

But Clay Community School officials are reminding the public to drive more cautiously as students return to school and as buses hit the roads.

The Clay Community Schools bus was rear-ended by another vehicle when the bus was stopped at a pick-up point, according to Tim Rayle, assistant superintendent.

All of the bus lights were operating to indicate that the bus was stopped, and the stop arm was deployed.

State law requires motorists to stop when a school bus is picking up or dropping off children. When school buses have their stop arms extended and red lights flashing, drivers need to stop, not proceed with caution.

The law applies to all roadways except those that are divided by a physical barrier or an unimproved median. On a divided roadway, only vehicles traveling in the same direction as the school bus are required to stop.

After Wednesday’s school bus accident, which occurred about 7:17 a.m., medical personnel checked out the students at the site of the accident, and none were injured, Rayle stated. As an added precaution, all students were seen by their respective school nurses when they arrived at school, and parents or guardians were contacted.

Mike Howard, the district’s director of extended services including bus transportation, noted that 24 students were on the bus, including elementary to high school students.

According to Sheriff Mike Heaton, the vehicle that hit the bus was a pickup truck hauling a trailer that carried two lawnmowers, part of a mowing business.

Both the school bus and pickup were eastbound. The pickup driver’s vision was impaired by sunshine, Heaton said. A passenger in the pickup was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Noting that many schools are back in session, or soon will be, Howard reminded drivers to slow down, be careful and watch for students and school buses, “particularly on highways, where speeds can be a little faster.”

Agencies responding included the Clay County Sheriff’s Department, Brazil Police Department, Brazil Fire Department, Posey Township volunteer fire department and Trans-Care. Clay Community Schools personnel also were on the scene.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

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