EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


March 14, 2013

Crash fuels debate

Superintendent wants seat belts on all school buses


The children — two kindergarten boys, one first-grade boy and one third-grade boy — were not injured in the crash, school officials said. They were transported in two ambulances to Merrimack Valley Hospital as a precaution and were later released to their parents.

Pentucket Lake Principal Dianne Connolly said she was called to the scene of the crash after the van driver notified the School Department’s transportation office of the accident. Connolly rode in one of the ambulances while a school bus monitor rode in the other ambulance.

Connolly said the children’s parents arrived at the hospital and were appreciative of the way the situation was handled.

“The children were not upset. They were in control and the district’s policy was so clear that things worked perfectly,” Connolly said. “The EMTs were great with the kids.”

Connolly said one parent was ready to send their child back to school as soon he was released and that she expects all four children to be in school today.

“The best news was that nobody was hurt,” Connolly said.

Eldridge said the damaged van was driven to a repair shop and will likely be back in service next week. In the meantime, a spare van will be used as a replacement, he said.

Eldridge said the damaged van has a wheelchair lift, although it was not carrying a wheelchair yesterday. He said the children who were on the van are not physically disabled, but are special needs students.

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