By Mary Spicer
EAST FALLOWFIELD TOWNSHIP —
Minor injuries sent nine students to area hospitals for examinations after a school bus left a snow-covered road Thursday morning. By mid-afternoon, all students had been released.
The bus was carrying 24 students between the ages of 5 and 14 to Conneaut Lake Elementary School and Conneaut Lake Middle School.
Driven by Melissa Castile, 45, of Greenville, the full-size school bus was traveling south on Kibbler Road just north of Laird Road in East Fallowfield Township at 7:06 Thursday.
According to Pennsylvania State Police from the Meadville barracks, a white pickup truck with dual rear wheels was traveling south on Kibbler Road. When Castile moved the school bus to the right to allow the vehicles to pass, the right rear tires of the bus went off the east side of the roadway.
Although the rear end of the bus went down an embankment and struck a fence post, the front of the bus remained on the roadway.
After being pulled back onto the road by Route 19 Towing, the bus was driven from the scene.
“We ask that anyone who meets one of our buses on back roads slows down and gives us the space we need to safely transport kids,” Conneaut Superintendent Jarrin Sperry said Thursday morning.
According to police, six students were transported to UPMC Greenville by ambulance for what police termed minor injuries and three students were transported to Meadville Medical Center, also for minor injuries.
Conneaut Lake Elementary School Principal Doug Parks rushed to the scene and accompanied the students who were transported to Greenville while Sperry met the students transported to Meadville Medical Center.
“I wanted to make sure the little kids weren’t too scared,” Parks said, expressing his thanks to first responders and neighbors who came out to help. “We all want to take care of kids,” he said.
Castile was not injured, according to Sue Anderson Nicklin, vice president of Anderson Coach, which operates buses serving all three of Conneaut’s attendance areas under contract with the district.
“Obviously the entire Anderson family expresses our support for all those touched by the accident,” Nicklin said late Thursday morning. “The driver is an experienced operator and it was a newer model full-size school bus.”