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School bus crash patients released from hospital

BY KATHLEEN FOX kfox@paducahsun.com

All nine students and two adults injured Wednesday in a collision between a car and a McCracken County school bus were treated and released by mid-afternoon.

Emergency responders were called to U.S. 62/Blandville Road and Ky. 286 at 7:40 a.m., according to Sheriff's Deputy Dwayne Pickett. He said a Ford Mustang driven by Joshua White, 22, of La Center hydroplaned, crossed the center line and drove into the path of the bus. Following the collision, the bus ran off the right shoulder into a ditch.

Pickett said rain and water on the road were factors but that speed was not a factor. He said the investigation was complete and no criminal charges were anticipated. 

Nine children, ages 6 to 10, were on the bus, destined for Heath Elementary School on Metropolis Lake Road. Seven were taken to Lourdes hospital or Baptist Health Paducah with minor injuries, and two were released to parents at the scene. 

David Simmons, director of communications and marketing at Lourdes hospital, said five people were brought to Lourdes  for treatment of injuries with conditions ranging from stable to fair. Angie Kinsey, communication coordinator at Baptist Health Paducah, said the remaining patients were brought to Baptist. All students were treated and released before noon.

White and bus driver Mary Emerson, 31, of McCracken County were taken to Lourdes or Baptist. They were treated and released early Wednesday afternoon.

Teresa Buzanis, district coordinator of transportation, said the bus, which is typically route 217 but Wednesday was a substitute bus numbered 180, was picking up 30 to 34 Heath Elementary School students.

She said following any wreck the driver will first check students for any visible injuries.

"The driver's first responsibility is to the students and to make sure they are unharmed," she said.

In this case, the bus driver didn't see any injuries but asked for emergency services for the driver of the other vehicle. Many of the students were taken to the hospital as a precaution because of their age. The school notified parents through the On-Call mass calling system, then spoke to individual parents of students who were involved, she said.

County school officials generally go to the scene of wreck. Heath Elementary School Principal Tim Adams did so Wednesday, according to Buzanis.

She said three or four buses that were nearby picked up the remaining children after completing their routes and the school day started about 15 minutes late. The district completes 54 routes daily, including preschool and special education.

Blandville Road remained closed to traffic for two hours.

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.

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