Local News

Students Injured in Bus Crash Showing Signs of Improvement

Posted April 8, 2001

— Several Fayetteville students, who remain hospitalized after a bus wreck near Florida on Friday, are showing progress in their recovery. One student was even sent home, Monday.

The students fromMassey Hill Classical High Schoolwere injured when the bus they were riding in crashed along Interstate 95 Friday morning.

Jill Adams and Patricia Mathis, two students who were listed in critical condition atShands-Jacksonville Medical Center, were upgraded to fair condition Monday.

Francis Folsom, 15, was released Monday afternoon from the Jacksonville, Fla. hospital. He was treated for serious cuts on his head and back.

"It was scary at first because my head was bleeding a lot. I wasn't sure if I fractured my skull or something," he says.

Folsom's classmates used jackets to wrap his head until he arrived at the hospital. While Folsom is excited about going home, he regrets leaving fellow students behind. "The one who is going to be discharged is really anxious. He is walking around the waiting room with his mom... really ready to get out of here and I think that's understandable," says Lisa Ramsey, a hospital spokesperson. -->

Six students at Shands-Jacksonville are listed in good or fair condition. They are expected to be released or transfered to another hospital closer to home later in the week.

Five students remain hospitalized in good condition at Camden Medical Center. A spokeswoman at the hospital in St. Mary's, Ga. says the students want to be released at the same time, and the hospital is working to coordinate their release.

Dozens of students were injured when the bus they were in crashed near the Georgia/Florida border. They were traveling to a band competition in Orlando. Students Return To Class, Remember Injured Classmates In Hospital

Most of the students on the bus trip were back in class Monday.

They started the day with a student-organized prayer vigil. The students also wrote get-well cards for their hospitalized classmates.

Joe Kuryla has a sprained ankle as a result of the accident, but he did not want to miss his first day back.

"I just wanted to make sure everyone was OK -- the people sitting near me, that I helped off the bus -- I wanted to see if they were OK emotionally and physically," he says.

Band director Steve West says throughout this tragedy, he continues to see bravery and courage among his students. He says a conversation with critically injured Jill Adams really warmed his heart.

"She couldn't talk. She had a letter board and pointed at the letters to make her words, and all she could ask was about the other students," he says.

The students at the school say they plan to wear yellow ribbons until their classmates come home.

Students were so overwhelmed by the generosity of the people who helped them in Georgia, they are now trying to thank them. Students will pay to wear blue jeans to school, and all the money will go to the Youth Center in Kingsland, Georgia.

Some people have chosen to help families with more than just money.

Al Wheatley, a supporter of Cumberland County schools and a parent himself, volunteered to fly Massey Hill principal Joyce Adams and band director Steve West to visit the students still in Georgia and Florida hospitals. Jill Hernandez-Adams remains in critical condition, while Tricia Mathis has been upgraded from critical to serious condition.

Jason Hunter is in serious condition, and Tareva Johnson and David Thomas were listed in fair condition.

Cumberland County administrators confirm AMA Tours, Unlimited, the charter bus company, did have insurance. It remains unclear if the bus that crashed has coverage.

School superintendent Bill Harrison visited students who are still recovering from Friday's wreck. -->

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