Local News

Students Hurt as Head Start Bus Overturns

Posted October 16, 2007 3:14 p.m. EDT
Updated October 17, 2007 11:21 a.m. EDT

Editor's Note: An earlier report said Tina Rhiles' vehicle hit the bus causing it to overturn. Upon investigation, her vehicle did not cause the accident.

Several students were hurt Tuesday afternoon when a bus carrying Head Start students overturned in Fayetteville, police said.

The bus was carrying eight students from Lake Rim Head Start, an adult chaperone and the driver when it was involved in a collision at about 2:50 p.m. and overturned near the intersection of Reilly Road and Dental Lane, about two blocks south of Morganton Road, police said.

Police closed Reilly Road between Morganton and Cliffdale roads to handle the accident.

A southbound car driven by 20-year-old Colton F. Battle struck the driver's side of the northbound bus, and a second car driven by 29-year-old Tina M. Rhiles hit the bus from behind. Another van was also struck by debris from the accident.

"I just jumped into the bus and started taking seat belts off kids and passing kids off to other people to get them out of there," said Army Sgt. Samuel Hill, who witnessed the wreck.

"I have two kids of my own here in Fayetteville, and you just want to keep kids safe," Army Sgt. Jory Curry said.

A half-dozen minor injuries were reported among bus passengers, with the chaperone suffering the most serious injury, witnesses said. But none of the injuries warranted medical treatment at a hospital, police said.

Parent John Hall said he panicked when the school called him to notify him of the wreck.

"I didn't know what was going on," Hall said as he hugged his son. "I'm just glad he's OK."

Battle and his passenger, who was not identified on the accident report, were taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for treatment, police said.

Crews had the bus righted and pulled off the side of the road by 5 p.m. But they continued to clear the scene of debris, including the bus' front axle, which had separated from the chassis in the wreck.