November 18, 2005
Albemarle County Police continue to investigate a crash involving two school buses. It happened just after 4 p.m. near the corner of Seminole Trail and Timberwood Boulevard, across from the Forest Lakes Shopping Center.
Police say the crash could have been much worse. It occurred between two buses traveling northbound on Rt. 29. The initial investigation appears that a bus driver became distracted by a student, causing him to slam into the back of another bus that had stopped in traffic. Both buses were coming from Sutherland Middle School.
The first bus was carrying 23 students, while the second carried 32 students. In total, 10 Sutherland Middle School students were injured and transported to UVA Medical Center with non life threatening injuries. Another eight students were treated on the scene and released into the custody of their parents.
Parents and administrators from Sutherland MS rushed to the scene to help sort through the details. Two teachers from Sutherland were driving by when they saw what happened, and stopped to help.
"I saw the buses were in an accident, and I wanted to be with the kids to calm them down, [and] make sure they were okay. [The kids seemed] pretty shaken up," explained Sutherland Middle School teacher Cheryl Harris.
"I was on my way home and I looked at the buses and I recognized that there were some Sutherland students, so I pulled over to see what I could do," said Sutherland Middle School teacher Kimberly Kennedy.
The driver of the second bus was injured in the incident but refused transportation to the hospital. Police say they will continue to investigate the accident. They believe the cause of the accident was a child distracting the driver. Charges are pending for that driver.
When reporters first arrived on the scene, it was very chaotic. There were parents and EMS workers working on several students, and parents trying to identify children. Police say despite the chaos, it could have been much worse