Local News

School Bus Accident in Wayne County Injures Some

Posted December 2, 1996

— The driver of a bus which was involved in an accident Monday in Wayne County faces two traffic charges.

The state Highway Patrol says 27-year-old Melissa Gay Ulmer was charged with driving on the wrong side of the road and exceeding a safe speed.

According to Trooper B.L. Quinn, the bus ran off a rural paved road on the left, came back across the road, struck a culvert and overturned.

The patrol said 25 children -- mostly 3- to 5-year-olds -- were injured. Most suffered cuts and abrasions, although officials at Wayne Memorial Hospital say two children suffered broken bones. All have now been released from the hospital.

The Project Head Start school bus, carrying 21 preschool children, five adults and four infants, overturned before 9:30 a.m. Monday.

The accident occurred as the bus was bound for the Pikeville Center which is on the grounds of the old Pikeville Elementary School.

Nearby residents rushed out of their houses to help get everyone out of the bus. Hubert Ferrell was among them and said he didn't know what had happened at first.

Many residents of the area near the accident said there have been many accidents and close calls on that curve.

Sgt. J.D. Booth of the Highway Patrol says there didn't appear to be any serious injuries.

Hospital spokesperson Jo Carol Torrez told WRAL TV5's Bret Baier that extra staff was brought in when they heard about the accident.

According to a Headstart spokesperson, all passengers on the bus were either wearing seatbelts or in child-restraint seats. Police say there might have been a very different outcome if they had not.

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