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Durham Bus/Car Accident Sends Students to the Hospital; One Driver Dies

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DURHAM — One person died Friday as the result of an afternoon accident between a school bus and a station wagon.

Authorities say around 3:30 p.m. Friday, the bus from Turning Point Academy slowed down to let students off near the intersection of Highway 55 and Wynn Road. That's when it was hit in the back by a station wagon.

The Ford Taurus went under the bus, and rescuers cut the roof off the car to get the driver out.

Johnny Clay, the driver of the vehicle, was taken by helicopter to Duke Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

It is unclear whether there were other people in the car.

All 26 students on the bus from the charter school were taken to local hospitals and released on Friday. Nine were immobilized, but officials say that was done as a precaution and that none of the students was seriously harmed. They primarily had minor neck injuries.

Several students were taken to Duke on a different school bus; they were brought in for observation and were released Friday night.

Frantic family members could not get to the students fast enough. They needed to see them to make sure they were O.K.

Carla Dukes had two children on the bus. a traumatic experience -->

Judas Best, the school's executive director says the kids were calm and in good spirits. "With something like this happening, most of them are scared, kind of nervous. But most of them are still in good cheer," he says.

Best says the bus driver seemed to be in good spirits as well. The driver experienced a sharp pain at the time of impact and was taken to the hospital. He was released Friday night as well.

The bus had a cell phone on board, and the school had a plan in place to deal with an emergency. As a result of the plan, officials were able to call the driver, administrators were able to get to the scene quickly, and parents were quickly called to let them know the latest.

About 140 students attend Turning Point Academy, which enrolls students from kindergarten through sixth grade. Classes meet in the basement of the United for Christ Church.

The school was chartered in 1998. andMichelle Singer

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Julie Moos, Web Editor

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