Students suffer minor injuries in crash

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A car collided with a school bus about 3 p.m. Feb. 15, causing minor injuries for nine students and the driver of the car.

The bus was taking 34 Clayton Elementary Students home when, according to reports, a car ran a stop sign and rear-ended the bus near the intersection of South Delaware Street and West Lehigh Avenue.

“I was called right after the accident happened and a follow-up call said the accident was pretty serious and involved injuries,” said Brian Ewert, school superintendent. “Karen Brofft, assistant superintendent, and I drove to the scene immediately to see what we could do to help.”

He said it appeared to be a pretty violent crash, and he and Brofft did what they could to help take care of the children until emergency medical personnel arrived.

“We worked with the driver, who was trying to get the students settled down and get blankets around them because it was pretty chilly,” Ewert said. “The fire department arrived and took over caring for the injured.”

A dozen students were assessed for minor injuries such as bumps, bruises and scrapes. Nine of them were taken to either Littleton Adventist Hospital or Swedish Medical Center. Ewert said all those taken to hospitals were treated and released to their parents by about 5 p.m. The bus driver and the 18-year-old woman driving the car also were taken to hospitals.

Clayton Principal Nicole Westfall arrived soon after the crash. She immediately used her cell phone to notify the parents of the injured students about the accident. Ewert said she then went back to school and, with the office staff, called the parents of all 34 students on the bus to share the information about the crash.

“Jonathan Fore, Englewood High School principal, was told about the accident soon after it happened and came to help,” Ewert said. “All the adults made their cell phones available to any of the children who wanted to call their parent.”

The superintendent said the bus driver wasn’t hurt physically and did what she could to calm the students down until help arrived. When the fire department took over, Ewert said the woman, a veteran Englewood school bus driver, was emotionally upset but later appeared to be recovered.

The school district is required by state education standards to do its own investigation of any school bus accident, which includes requiring the driver to take a blood and alcohol test.

At the same time, since initial information seem to indicate the car ran a stop sign and hit the rear of the bus, police collected statements and evidence at the scene and are continuing their investigation to determine whether the driver of the car should face charges.

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