14 Kids OK, School Bus Driver Injured in Crash
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A school bus carrying 14 children hit a power pole on a rural road near Farmersville. The crash occurred at around 2:00 Wednesday afternoon on Avenue 264 near Farmersville Road. The bus went off the road and into an orchard after hitting the power pole on the other side of the road.
Student Noah Carmen-Newburg said he and the other children on the bus were scared. He said, "When we crashed I thought we were going to flip over and I was like c'mon guys, let's get out!"
The children did get out safely. Javier Mendez lives nearby and rushed to the scene, worried about the kids.
"Were the kids pretty shook up?" We asked.
"Yeah they were crying, they were all crying." He said.
None of the children were hurt, but Mendez said the driver was injured. He said, "He was hurt. He had a cut right here (on his forehead) he was laying on the side of the seat."
Mendez said the driver was unable to speak. Because of that the Highway Patrol has been unable to figure out exactly why this happened.
At the scene Highway Patrol Officer Ben Chaney said, "We do know that he swerved off the road, striking a pole then coming over to the other side of the road and into the grove. However he wasn't able to give us much details as to what he was doing."
Noah Carmen Newburg said the driver was on the phone. He said, "He was sick and he was calling the school."
And Mendez said he saw a cell phone at the driver's feet. "The cell phone was on the floor right where the brake pedal is," said Mendez.
The Highway Patrol is investigating the circumstances including whether the driver was on a cell phone. The bus was carrying students from the Outside Creek School, which is just about a mile from the crash scene.
School officials were not available for comment. The downed power pole cut off electricity to eight homes in the area. Crews worked overnight restoring power.
tulare county, local, gene haagenson
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