Fortunately injuries were minor after a pickup slammed into the back of a full school bus Monday morning in Newark.
The wreck occurred just before 9 a.m. on Farm Road 718, about a half-mile south of the intersection with FM 3433.The bus was stopped to pick up a student, with the lights flashing and the stop sign on the side extended, when it was hit from behind. The bus was loaded with 26 children on their way to Chisholm Trail Middle School in Rhome.
Three students reported minor injuries, with one being sent by ambulance to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur after suffering a chipped tooth. The rest were loaded onto another bus and taken to class. School bus driver Kristin Freeman, 27, of Newark, was uninjured.
The driver of the pickup, Chad L. Humphus, 40, of Bedford, was texting or otherwise distracted when he rammed into the stopped bus, according to an investigator with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
“He was texting or doing something else on his phone when he ran into the back of the bus,” said state trooper William Cooper.
Although the wreck crumpled the front of his pickup, Humphus was uninjured in the wreck. He was issued a citation for failure to control speed.
“I’m very remorseful,” Humphus said after the wreck. “I feel horrible about what happened. I would never want to injure a child. I’ve never even been in accident before in my life.”
Turns out the kids on the bus were just as worried about him.
“We were picking a girl up from this house, and a truck smashed into us from out of nowhere and knocked us all forward,” said seventh-grade student Conor Howard, who was nursing a sore neck after the wreck. “Everybody was scared, and we were all worried about the guy in the truck. It looked like he tried to swerve to miss us.”
Northwest Superintendent Karen Rue arrived on the scene to check on the injured students. Middle school principal Todd Rogers was also there.
“We started our emergency procedures right away,” Rogers said. “The students are fine. One is going to Wise Regional to get checked out. All the others are being sent to school.”
Another school bus pulled up, and the kids filed dutifully from one bus to the other on their delayed way to class. Rogers said there would be counselors available at school if needed. He also rode along with the injured student in the ambulance to Wise Regional.