Driver charged after multiple people injured in crash

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Multiple people have been hospitalized, including children, following a crash in Columbus County involving a school bus Tuesday morning.

NCDOT says an 18-wheeler was traveling on US 74/76 near Delco when the driver looked down. When he looked up, he reportedly then saw a Head Start school bus stopped in front of him. He swerved but still hit the bus.

“I came running out and I looked and I just saw the bus torn all up,” Hubert Graham, who ran outside to the scene in front of his home, said. “It was just noise and chaos. Smoke, tires and people just running around. It was like the end of the world.”

Officials say a FedEx truck was behind the 18-wheeler and also hit the bus.

The collision caused the bus to flip “a couple times” according to DOT.

“We were actually around back and all of a sudden, we heard a bunch of crashing and a bunch of tires screeching and noise happening out front,” Graham said.

Trooper T.W. Inman with Highway Patrol says the bus was headed to Ransom Head Start Center in Riegelwood.

“Were there any kids on the bus? That was the first thought in my mind, was were there any kids on the bus?” Graham said.

Inman confirms two adults, the bus driver and school aid, were airlifted to New Hanover Regional Medical Center. However, all eight children on the bus were taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Officials say all of the children were ages five and under, and were wearing seat belts.

A neighbor who heard the crash from his front yard says the bus stops right here to pick up a child, but that child was not there today.

Columbus County dispatch says the crash happened at 8:56 a.m.

The scene was cleared and traffic patterns were restored by 12:30 p.m.

As of 3 p.m., Inman says six of the children were released from the hospital, while the two others were admitted, and the bus driver and school aid were still in the E.R.

He says the driver of the FedEx truck and 18-wheeler are okay. The driver of that 18-wheeler has reportedly been charged with failure to reduce speed.

Categories: Columbus, Local

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