SUV strikes Warren Local Schools bus; drivers injured

Photo by Jeff Baughan An inspector with Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Motor Vehicle Inspection unit walks past the damaged Warren Local Schools bus after inspecting the undercarriage Thursday morning.

BELPRE — One person was seriously injured Thursday at Ohio 7 and Veto Road, north of Belpre, where an SUV struck a school bus from Warren Local Schools.

The driver of the SUV was flown to the hospital by medical helicopter, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Ohio 7 was closed for a period for the medical flight. The road reopened around 8 a.m.

Details on the SUV and driver, as well as his condition, were not immediately available Thursday.

Warren Superintendent Kyle Newton said the bus driver and one student were taken to area hospitals as a precaution, but both suffered only minor injuries.

Photo by Jeff Baughan A side view shows the damage to the rear section of the Warren Local Schools bus after it was hit Thursday morning.

Newton said the bus was transporting middle- and high-school students on Ohio Route 7 near Veto Road when the collision occurred. The back bumper on the bus was caved in, but the vehicle was otherwise unharmed.

“In a collision between a car and a bus, the car is almost always going to be worse off,” Newton said. “That’s why we drive those big yellow buses. They are as safe as safe can be.”

Newton said some other students suffered minor bumps and bruises. The parents of all students were contacted and a few came to pick up their children at the scene of the crash, he said.

As part of the bus driver’s operating license, he must undergo drug testing, Newton said.

“Even if it isn’t the driver’s fault, we have to follow certain protocols,” he said. “This is one of our senior drivers, a really good driver. It’s one of the worst situations in the world for our drivers because they are always working to keep the kids safe.”

Newton said early information from the scene indicates the bus driver likely was not at fault.

“It is my understanding we were at a stop doing what we were supposed to be doing,” Newton said.

The incident is still under investigation and authorities have not yet announced if any charges will be filed.