PD: Bus Driver was Distracted when Crash in Conn. Happened

WETHERSFIELD, CT (WFSB) – Seven ambulances responded to a school bus crash in Wethersfield that sent 11 people to the hospital.

Now, police said the woman who was driving the bus got distracted.

“We’ve investigated whether the bus driver was on the phone- we don’t believe that was the case. I don’t believe the bus driver saw the car in front of the bus,” said Lt. Andrew Power, Wethersfield police.

Police said a First Student bus crashed into a Jeep on Prospect Street near Maple Street around 9 a.m. Two other vehicles were also involved, but were towed from the scene.

“It appears a bus rear-ended a jeep in front of it,” Power said. “There was approximately seven students on the bus.”

“All of a sudden we heard a big loud noise,” Jennifer Mueller, of Wethersfield, said.

Police also said the ambulance response was not indicative of injuries; however, the 7- to 8-year-old students were sent to the hospital to be reunited with their parents.

They said a “mass casualty” declaration was made, but it simply means that there are more patients than the typical amount of resources available.

According to school officials, all seven students were sent to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford as a precaution. None of the students were hurt, police said.

Two patients were sent to Middlesex Hospital and one was sent to St. Francis Hospital in Hartford. A person in the Jeep was hospitalized for facial injuries, but police said they were minor.

The bus driver was taken to Hartford Hospital as a precaution.

Officials said the bus was a Capitol Region Education Council, or CREC, bus. It was headed to the Glastonbury-East Hartford Magnet School from the Webb School.

“Police are still investigating the cause of the accident. Student safety is CREC’s first priority. We are working closely with local officials to collect more information,” CREC schools said in a statement on Thursday.

“We believe traffic was stopped and we believe the bus driver was distracted for some reason,” Power said.

Police said the bus driver could face an initial charge of following too closely.

Officials with the Department of Motor Vehicles were also called to the scene to make sure the bus was working properly.

Prospect Street was closed from Maple Street to Longvue Drive for a few hours during the police investigation. The road reopened around 11 a.m.

Wethersfield public schools are on spring break this week.

First Student, based in Ohio, did not return requests for comments.

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Source: WGGB