School officials reporting only 1 student involved in bus accident hospitalized - | WBTV Charlotte

School officials reporting only 1 student involved in bus accident hospitalized

A Cabarrus County activity bus flipped over on I-77 Wednesday morning. (Photo courtesy:  NC DOT) A Cabarrus County activity bus flipped over on I-77 Wednesday morning. (Photo courtesy: NC DOT)
The children who were not injured were taken on a CATS bus to police headquarters in center city Charlotte. The children who were not injured were taken on a CATS bus to police headquarters in center city Charlotte.
Ambulances transported 34 patients to several hospital emergency rooms near center city Charlotte. Ambulances transported 34 patients to several hospital emergency rooms near center city Charlotte.
Kailey England suffered a minor bump on her head.  She was treated and released at CMC. Kailey England suffered a minor bump on her head. She was treated and released at CMC.
A large tow truck equipped with a crane lifts the flipped over activity bus. A large tow truck equipped with a crane lifts the flipped over activity bus.

By Jeff Rivenbark - email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Only one student who was involved in a bus accident on a busy Charlotte interstate Wednesday morning remains hospitalized.

Dozens of students were taken to emergency rooms at three Charlotte-area hospitals after the activity bus they were on flipped on I-77 near west Brookshire Freeway.

According to the highway patrol, the driver, Tonya Crowell, ran off the road, struck a sign, and hit a guardrail causing the bus to overturn.

The students were from Cox Mill Elementary in Cabarrus County.  They were heading to Camp Thunderbird in southwest Charlotte for an overnight field trip.

Roughly 60 people were on the bus when the crash occurred.  Thirty-four were transported to area hospitals and the remaining 26 were taken by a CATS bus to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's Law Enforcement Center.

A spokeswoman for Cabarrus County Schools said there were no seat belts on the activity bus and there is no law in North Carolina requiring buses to have them.

Most of the children who were involved in the accident were back at school on Thursday.  Some of the counselors from Camp Thunderbird came to the school to participate in activities with the students.

As of now, no citations or charges have been issued against the bus driver.

* * *

(The following statement is from MEDIC and CMPD.)

On April 29, 2009 shortly after 10:00 a.m. CMPD along with several other agencies (Charlotte Fire Department, NC State Highway Patrol, and Medic) responded to a traffic collision on I-77S involving a Cabarrus County Activity School Bus.  On board the bus were approximately 33 children and 12 adults who were en route to Camp Thunderbird.  All of the passengers were able to escape the bus prior to arrival of CFD and Medic.

In approximately 30 minutes Charlotte FF's and Medic were able to treat, stabilize, and transport those injured to area hospitals.  Those who were not hurt were taken to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Headquarters to re unite with their families.  The Charlotte Fire Dept upgraded this incident to a 2nd alarm response, bringing nearly 48 firefighters to the scene to support this mass causality incident.  Additional firefighters were assigned to CMPD headquarters to support the uninjured children who were able to reunite with their parents.

Medic's response to the collision consisted of 8 ambulances, a Mass Casualty Response Unit, and one of Medic's two Mass Casualty Transport Buses.  Approximately 28 Paramedics, EMT's and Medic Supervisors managed medical care on scene.  A total of 62 patients were evaluated by Medic Paramedics and CFD first responders.  36 total patients were transported to area hospitals for treatment.  The 11 most seriously injured patients were transported via ambulance to CMC Main and Presbyterian Hospital.  The remaining 25 patients, each of whom only suffered minor injuries, were transported via Medic's Mass Casualty Transport Bus to CMC Main and Presbyterian Hospital. 

The fact that Medic was able to employ its Mass Casualty Transport Bus was critical as it allowed the Agency to safely retain paramedic coverage for the rest of the County while a substantial mass casualty incident was occurring.  Medic was able to safely respond to numerous other life threatening situations throughout Mecklenburg County thanks to the capabilities of this invaluable resource.   

Acting as an assisting agency, CMPD opened Police HQ to serve as a safe location for the children who were not transported to area hospitals.  In addition, CMPD opened their Command Center to assist families in gathering information about their children. CMPD also offered assistance to the families of the children who were transported to local hospitals by confirming which hospital they were transported to and providing transportation and/or directions to them as needed.

81 children were brought to CMPD HQ to be reunited with their families.  Children were provided pizza and light snacks as they awaited their parents' arrival to Police HQ.  The last child was re united with their family shortly after 3:00 p.m.

NC State Highway Patrol will be handling the investigation to determine the cause of this collision.

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