School bus accident injures six

Published 8:44 pm Thursday, January 29, 2009

Six Nansemond River High School students were injured Wednesday morning after their school bus ran into the back of a passenger vehicle in the 5400 block on Nansemond Parkway.

Two students were taken to Sentara BelleHarbour’s emergency department by ambulance, while four more were taken to the hospital by a bus on which a medic rode, according to Bethanne Bradshaw, public information officer for Suffolk Public Schools.

All six students were treated and released by late morning.

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Police are still investigating the accident. In a press release, Debbie George, communication director for the city of Suffolk, said the school bus, which carried 34 students in all — sustained only minor damage, while the passenger vehicle “appeared totaled.”

William Blackwell, the school bus driver, was charged with one count of driving too closely. Bradshaw said the driver was taken immediately from the accident scene for alcohol and drug screening, as required by school policy. She also said school officials are investigating the accident in more detail before deciding on any personnel action.

Bradshaw said the school administrative offices attempted to call a parent or guardian of each student who rode the bus, and will be sending a letter home today, as well.

Bradshaw said the letter noted that the school system’s transportation department “work(s) diligently to prevent school bus accidents, and that our school division has one of the best safety records in the state.”

Bradshaw also encouraged parents to contact Nansemond River High School if their children demonstrate any physical complaints.