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Bus wreck injures eight

By Brandon Evans | Published Saturday, December 22, 2012

A three-vehicle pileup involving a Decatur ISD bus sent eight student to the hospital Thursday afternoon.

The eastbound bus was coming to a stop on Farm Road 2264, just a couple miles east of U.S. 287, when a van, driven by McClellon Kitner, 38, of Decatur rammed into a pickup driven by Peter Davis, 26, of Decatur. The pickup was stopped behind the bus.

INJURIES – Emergency responders strap several crash victims to backboards just before shipping them to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The force of the impact crushed the pickup into the back bumper of the bus, jarring the students inside. A fourth vehicle, a pickup driven by Randy Cooper, 54, of Decatur, swerved to avoid the pileup and had a minor wreck in the ditch running alongside the highway.

Fifty-six Decatur high school and middle school students were on the bus. A total of eight suffered minor injuries. Medics and firefighters tended to the students in the dry grass alongside the road before they were transported by ambulance to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

The bus driver, Elizabeth Ruiz, 42, was uninjured.

Department of Public Safety Trooper William Cooper said Kitner was at fault for the wreck and will be issued a citation for failure to control speed.

Decatur superintendent Rod Townsend and high school principal Jason Cochran both arrived on scene shortly after the wreck. Townsend said he didn’t think any of the injuries were serious.

“They’re getting sent to the hospital to get checked out for precautionary measures,” he said.

The wreck happened just before 4 p.m. Traffic was shut down in both directions for more than an hour as officers investigated the scene and firefighters cleaned up a fuel spill.

CRUSHED – A white pickup driven by Peter Davis, 26, was rammed by a van and pushed into the back of the stopped school bus. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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