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The Defiance Post of the Highway Patrol is currently investigating a two-vehicle injury crash that involved a Mill-Creek West Unity Local School bus. The crash occurred shortly before 7:30 a.m. on US-20A around milepost 9.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol says a school bus, driven by Deborah Connolly, 62, of West Unity, OH, was stopped with red flashing lights and stop sign activated, to pick up a student on US-20A. Then, a Ford Taurus, driven by David Whitman, 61, of Montpelier, OH, was heading eastbound on US-20A when he failed to see the stopped bus.
"He didn't see the school bus stop, and when he noticed it, he tried to avoid it," said Lt. Charles Gullett, Ohio State Highway Patrol.
To avoid a collision, troopers say Whitman drove off the roadway, but struck the right rear side of the school bus in the process. OSHP says debris from Whitman's vehicle struck and injured a student that was waiting to get on the bus.
"Scrapes and bruises, just like if she fell down off of her bike or anything like that. I mean, it could have been much more serious," said Superintendent Larry Long with Mill-Creek West Unity Local Schools.
Three students on board suffered minor injuries, according to the OSHP. School officials say all 24 students on board reported to school after the wreck and parents were alerted. No one was transported to the hospital.
Long says students who ride buses are taught how to avoid such incidents.
"The students are all trained by our bus drivers that they have to wait back until they're waved to come. They're not standing right along the curb," explained Long.
That is the exact protocol the student boarding the bus was following as she waited with her mother.
Highway patrolmen say drivers are the ones who may need a refresher on school bus safety.
"If they see a school bus with the yellow flashing lights on, that means that the school bus is preparing to stop to either let students off or to pick students up. So to them, that should signify that they need to slow down and prepare to stop," said Gullett.
Whitman was cited for assured clear distance ahead and a stopped school bus violation.
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