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20 Children, Adults Suffer Minor Injuries in Activity Bus Accident

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RALEIGH — Two tour buses taking Greenville schoolchildren on a field trip collided today east of Raleigh, sending 20 children and two adults to the hospital with minor injuries.

The State Highway Patrol says the two buses ran into each other about 9 a.m.while westbound on U.S. 64 near the Neuse River bridge east of Raleigh. Each bus carried 40 children from Saint Peter's Catholic School in Greenville.

The Highway Patrol says the buses collided while trying to avoid another vehicle.

Michelle Mastri of Wake Medical Center in Raleigh says most of the children had been released from the hospital by noon.

She says the children were on their way to Raleigh to tour the state Capitol and nearby museums.

At noon, the group was still awaiting transportation back to Greenville, but were comfortably sheltered in a tent with refreshments provided by emergency services.

The two Allison Coach tour buses were headed west on U.S. 64. The first bus braked suddenly to avoid a stopped tractor-trailer on the Neuse River bridge. The second bus slammed into the back of the first bus. A total of 73 people were on the two buses.

Charles Moye was a passenger on one of the buses. He says he saw what was happening, but the actual collision provided quite a jolt.

"Our bus driver hit the brakes hard," Moye said. "And I just happened to look up and when I did, there was a tractor-trailer on the bridge, stopped. Within two seconds after that the other bus hit us. The damage on our bus, compared to the other bus, is minor, but it was a jolt."

Saint Peter's officials referred calls to a spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Raleigh, who did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

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MJ Ainsley, Web Editor

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