Russell County bus accident sends 39 students to hospital

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 27, 2011 

An accident involving a Russell County School bus sent 39 children and the driver to The Medical Center in Columbus on Monday morning.

Thirty-three of the students arrived in a school bus and six by ambulance.

The accident happened around 8 a.m. when the driver lost control of the vehicle on Westside Drive near Highway 80.

Officials from the Russell County Sheriff’s Office said the cause of the accident is still under investigation.

The bus went off the road and fell on its side but never flipped over, officials said.

None of the students, who were headed to Ladonia Elementary School, were seriously injured.

Columbus Regional Director of Communications Marion Scott said the last patient was released at 12:10 p.m.

“We didn’t have a report of anyone with trauma,” Scott said. “As the regional trauma center we’re uniquely equipped to handle situations such as this. It is all hands on deck.”

Fortunately, she said, the accident was not as bad as it could have been.

Scott added that several drills are conducted during the year in preparation for these incidents.

Russell County Superintendent Mike Green and Ladonia Elementary Principal Jason Hopper could not be reached for comment.

This is the third accident in five months involving a Russell County school bus.

On May 5, about three dozen students were treated at The Medical Center following a crash that occurred around 11 a.m. No students were seriously injured.

In that incident, the bus collided with a sedan at the intersection of U.S. 431 and Alabama 169. The students were from Dixie Elementary and were on a field trip to Russell County Middle School. The bus was crossing the highway when a Toyota Avalon hit it and went under it.

On Aug. 24, a 17-year-old Russell County High School senior, Casey Hearn, was killed when his Honda Accord crossed the center line and collided head-on with a school bus on Ala. 169, about 3 miles from U.S. 431. None of the 44 Russell County Middle School students on the bus were seriously injured.

All were taken to The Medical Center for examination.

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