Local News

Driver Charged After Hitting Bus of School Children, Adults

Posted June 2, 2007 12:51 p.m. EDT
Updated June 3, 2007 12:19 p.m. EDT

— A student field trip was cut short Saturday morning when a truck rear-ended a bus carrying Fayetteville students and chaperones.

Eight adults and 18 students from Cumberland Mills Elementary were headed to Raleigh to see an IMAX movie and eat at Golden Corral as a reward for working hard in school this past year.

Around 10 a.m., their bus drove into a construction zone on I-40 at the Wake-Johnston County line. Traffic merged into one lane, and cars started hitting their brakes.

“The car ahead of me stopped. I had to stop before hitting him,” said bus driver Branson Matthews.

When the bus stopped, the silver Dodge pickup truck behind them didn’t.

“The truck tail-ended me, a pretty good bang,” Matthews said.

Three adults and one child were taken to WakeMed with minor injuries. The remaining children were fine, according to Pat Strober, the field trip coordinator.

“They immediately asked if we were going to the IMAX,” Strober said.

Troopers had other worries, especially after the stopped bus blocked the single westbound lane for 20 minutes. Troopers charged the driver of the truck, Wade Chester Dean of Zebulon, with failure to reduce speed.

“We’ve talked about accidents, and it just happens,” Strober said.

The field trip has been postponed, but school officials said the kids have been understanding.

"They'll be fine as long as they know we're going another day," Strober said.