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Eight students injured after bus involved in four-vehicle wreck

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A three-vehicle pileup involving a Decatur ISD school 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 DecaturĀ stopped behind the bus. The force of the impact crushed the pickup into the back bumper of bus, jarring the students inside. A fourth vehicle was also involved in the wreck. A pickup driven by Randy Cooper, 54, of Decatur, swerved to avoid the pileup and had a minor wreck in the grass 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 school bus driver, Elizabeth Ruiz, 42, was uninjured.

Department of Public Safety Trooper William Cooper said Kitner was at the 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. He said he didn’t think any of the injuries were serious.

“They’re getting sent to the hospital t0 get checked out for precautionary measures,” Townsend 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.