Local News

Church Bus Carrying Nearly 20 Children Overturns

Posted September 25, 2006

— Several children were taken to Duke Hospital Sunday morning after the church bus they were traveling in ran off the road and landed on its side.

The accident happened at about 10:40 a.m. on the corner of

East Greer Street and Junction Road

in Durham. The bus was carrying 19 children -- ranging in age from 5 to 15 years old -- to Sunday school at United Pentecostal Church when the accident happened.

Most of the children suffered from superficial injuries, such as cuts, scrapes and bruises, said Trooper M.D. Holmes. The highway patrol said the driver, Troy Weaver, and a few children were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Weaver, a licensed bus driver and member of the church, is expected to have surgery Monday after suffering a broken leg and shoulder fracture.

One child, who had his arm hanging out of the window at the time of the crash, was trapped between the bus and the road's asphalt and had to be rescued. But he was OK, authorities said.

North Carolina Highway Patrol investigators were still investigating the wreck Sunday afternoon, but Holmes said it appeared as if Weaver ran off the right-hand side of the road. Witnesses told investigators that Weaver then overcorrected and went off the road again before crashing.

It was not immediately clear what caused the accident, but Holmes said he did not believe speed was a factor. The road had just been repaved and is still soft to the touch, but it was not clear if the repaving contributed to the wreck.

Authorities are also looking into whether a crew of tree cutters working near the side of the road may have caused Weaver to lose control.

Rodney Betts, an assistant pastor at the church, said Sunday that the church is grateful the accident was not any worse.

"We're thankful," said Betts, who had been teaching a Sunday school class when an usher told him about the accident. "We're going to have prayer with them and comfort them and love them."

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