Our Cape Girardeau car accident lawyers are troubled by a recent report of a Missouri school bus accident that sent 11 students to the hospital. It happened on March 13 in Belgrade, MO: the bus was carrying 35 students on Highway C, a narrow, 2-lane road. As the road curved to the left, the bus's rear wheels slid off the road and into a ditch. In response, the driver overcorrected, which caused the bus to overturn onto its passenger side.
3 students suffered serious injuries and were taken to St. Louis Children's Hospital by helicopter. 7 others suffered moderate injuries, and were taken by ambulance to hospitals in Farmington and Potosi. Several suffered from scrapes, bruises, fractures and broken bones.
According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, the accident happened when the bus driver (72 year-old Elwood Reed) became distracted. Reed, a substitute driver, had his attention diverted when a student dropped something behind the driver's seat, Sergeant Al Nothum reported.
This accident came right on the heels of another serious school bus crash: on March 12 in Indianapolis, a 5 year-old girl and a 60 year-old bus driver were killed when the driver slammed into a concrete pillar of an old railroad bridge. About 50 students were on board: 2 others were critically injured, and 10 suffered non-life threatening injuries. The cause of the accident is unknown, and the investigation continues.
In light of these very serious accidents, our lawyers thought it might be a good time to discuss all aspects of school bus safety. According to the School Bus Information Clearinghouse, 5 students were killed in school bus accidents last year. However, while bus accident fatalities are relatively rare, students waiting for the bus or walking to and from the bus stop are much more vulnerable. Between 2001 and 2011, an average of 29 children died in school bus-related pedestrian accidents.