Three special needs students with Bulloch County Schools appear to be uninjured after a car struck the school bus taking them home Thursday afternoon, but a passenger in the vehicle that struck the bus was dead at the scene.
A second school bus accident Thursday night also resulted in no injuries to the driver and her two children, who were the only riders on the bus.
According to Hayley Greene, public relations specialist for Bulloch schools, in the first accident, the vehicle hit the bus from behind, leaving an unidentified man dead, while the driver was air lifted to a Savannah hospital.
The accident occurred about 3:30 p.m. when the bus was stopped in the far right lane on the north side of Highway 25 in Bulloch County, near the Jenkins County line. Greene said a student was getting off the bus when it was hit, but the students’ uncle caught the student. Greene said Paul Webb, chief operations officer for the schools' Transportation Department, told her the uncle hit his head when he fell while catching the student. He was treated at the scene by Bulloch County EMS personnel.
“We are grateful it appears no students or our personnel were injured in the unfortunate accident,” Webb said. “Our prayers go out to the family and friends of the passenger and driver of the vehicle.”
Also, the three students were examined by EMS at the scene and appeared OK. The parents at the scene told Webb they probably would take their children to the emergency room at East Georgia Regional Medical Center for precautionary checks, Greene said.
The school bus driver did appear to sustain some injuries from the accident, Greene said, but she was taken to East Georgia for further examination. A bus monitor also was on the bus and appeared uninjured.
Webb said there were no skid marks on the road, indicating the vehicle did not slow down prior to hitting the bus. The vehicle was wedged under the bus and the jaws of life were needed to extract the driver.
Greene said the bus driver followed all safety protocol when stopped to let the student off. She said a special needs bus is about half the size of a regular school bus.
The Georgia State Patrol was on the scene, but had no other details at press time.
In the second accident, about 8 p.m. Thursday a car ran into the back of a bus at the same location where an 18-wheeler hit a bus from behind on Feb. 8 – at the railroad crossing on Veteran's Memorial Parkway, about a quarter mile west of Highway 301.
The bus had finished dropping off children who participate in the 21st Century Communities Grant tutoring program that provides academic and social enrichment after school for students, according to Greene. The students receive tutoring after school and then are transported to the Boys and Girls Club on Denmark St. in Statesboro for activities and a meal.
They were returning from the Boys and Girls Club when the accident occurred.