Huntsville, AL School Bus Crashes Off Bridge, Nov 2006
SCHOOL BUS PLUNGES OFF ALABAMA HIGHWAY.
Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 20 - A school bus plunged nearly 40 feet off a highway overpass in Huntsville, Ala., today and crashed nose-first into the pavement below, killing four students and sending 11 others to the intensive care unit, officials said.
"It appears a small compact car also being driven by a student cut in front of, or got too close to, the bus," said Rex Reynolds, chief of the Huntsville City Police Department.
Chief Reynolds said the driver of the car, a young man, was in custody and being interviewed, but he would not release his name or age.
A team from the National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the accident.
Two high school students died at the scene. They were:
NICOLE FORD, 17.
CHRISTINE COLLIER, 18.
Two other girls, died at Huntsville Hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said. They were:
TANESHA HILL, unknown age.
CRYSTAL RENEE McCRARY, 17.
The students were traveling between Lee High School and the Center for Technology, where students from six local high schools take classes in vocational skills.
It is a daily trip for most of the students who were on the bus, and it typically takes 10 to 15 minutes, said Keith Ward, a spokesman for the Huntsville schools.
At least two more students were in "very
critical" condition tonight, and about 29 others, including the bus driver, had been transported to the hospital with injuries including head wounds, compound fractures and internal bleeding, said Dr. Sherri Squyres, medical director of the emergency room at Huntsville Hospital.
The scene of the accident was "just a horrendous sight," said Eddie Turner, the acting principal of the Center for Technology, who went to the scene after he learned of the accident. "A lot of emergency people were working feverishly to triage and transport the kids."
Many of the students had no identification, making it difficult for emergency personnel to inform parents who went to the hospital for news.
"I have been in shock all day," said Mary Fletcher, a neighbor and distant relative of the FORD family in Huntsville. "I have kids and grandkids, and this is heartbreaking."
New York Times New York 2006-11-20