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No serious injuries in Tuesday morning bus accident


By Tom Smith Senior Staff Writer

LITTLEVILLE — More than a dozen Colbert County students avoided any major injuries Tuesday morning when the school bus they were on was swiped by a tractor-trailer.

Colbert County Superintendent Gale Satchel said three Colbert Heights’ students were taken to Russellville Hospital by ambulance to be treated and examined for minor injuries after the accident, which occurred on U.S. 43 at the Colbert/Franklin line.

“We had 17 on the bus and only three were injured, and none of them were life-threatening or major injuries,” Satchel said.

She said the other 14 were placed on another bus and taken on to school at Colbert Heights.

The accident occurred around 7 a.m., while the bus, which was headed west, had stopped to pick up a student on U.S. 43.

Troopers said there was a heavy rain storm, which may have contributed to the accident.

Officials at the scene said it appears the truck driver did not give himself enough distance to stop for the bus, tried to go around the bus, and the trailer hit the rear of the bus.

Cpl. Scott Simpson, of the Quad-Cities State Troopers Post, said this is a perfect example of why motorists need to watch out for school buses.

“People need to be aware of their surroundings and especially when there is inclement weather, they need to slow down,” Simpson said. “You never know what is going to be in front of you.”

Troopers said the driver of the tractor-trailer truck, Danny Ray Downs, 65, of Haleyville, was not injured. Neither was the bus driver, Donna Hamilton Clark, 39, of Tuscumbia.

Satchel said a student was getting on the bus when the accident occurred. She said the boy was one of the students taken to the hospital.

“He didn’t appear to be hurt seriously,” she said.

Officials said the students were all later released from the hospital.

Satchel said all of the children’s parents were notified about the accident.

She said since all of the students on the bus get to school in time for breakfast, the system’s child nutrition director was notified and brought 25 breakfasts to the scene.

Satchel said a woman who lived at the residence near the accident, opened her home “and took everyone in and made this as comfortable as possible.”

“This was truly a team effort,” Satchel said. “We all just gathered together to make this work out as well as it could. I’m just so thankful that no one was seriously injured.”

The accident remains under investigation by the Quad-Cities State Troopers.

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