Rustburg, VA School Bus and Truck Wreck, Mar 1977


Rustburg, Va. (AP) - Three school children have died and one remained in serious condition early today as a result of the Tuesday collision of a school bus and a tractor trailer near this small western Virginia community.
Police said 30 other persons, including 28 children, were injured when the bus was rammed from behind on U.S. 29 just west of here in Campbell County.
State Trooper Walter Farmer said the bus had stopped to pick up a pupil when the truck hit the yellow school bus.
Officials identified the three dead children as LINDA DAVIS, 11, a 6th-grader at Yellow Branch Elementary School; MELINDA K. HOLLIE, 14, a student at Rustburg Middle School, and TERRI L. HALL, 7, a first-grader at Yellow Branch.
Police said the DAVIS child died at Lynchburg General Hospital about seven hours after the 8 a.m. accident. The other two children were dead at the scene.
KAREN WHITAKER, a high school student, was listed in serious condition Tuesday night at Lynchburg General, suffering from head injuries and broken legs.
A witness said the bus was lifted up from the rear and then toppled over on its right side.
The rear emergency door was buckled and the other exits - all on the right side - were impassable, trapping the children and driver INEZ ISAACS, 57.
The tractor trailer remained upright. Its driver was identified as THEODORE TEMPLETON, 36, of Winston-Salem, N.C. TEMPLETON was hospitalized and underwent surgery but was in fair condition today.
State police said one of the children killed in the accident was thrown from the bus and crushed beneath it.
E. L. Shelton said he and his wife were driving along U.S. 29 when they saw the accident. Shelton used a crowbar supplied by a deputy sheriff to pry out the windshield of the bus and MRS. ISAACS crawled out.
By the time the first rescue units arrived, all but the most seriously injured children had been removed from the bus by Shelton, Mrs. Isaacs and the unidentified Campbell County sheriff's deputy.

Statesville Record and Landmark North Carolina 1977-03-09