EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 31, 2013

Methuen kids left waiting for buses due to accident

METHUEN — A school bus carrying high school students slid on a patch of black ice into a ditch yesterday morning on Lowell Street, closing down a portion of that road and throwing off the grammar school bus schedule.

The 21 students and the driver were not injured, and another bus took the kids to the high school.

Lowell Street, from the National Guard Armory to Wheeler Street, where buses make a loop to pick up students on before heading back into town on Route 110, was closed while city trucks salted the road and the bus was towed out of the ditch and was able to be driven away.

Parents and a Marsh Grammar School student on Lowell Street said the Marsh buses, which run later than the high school buses, did not come at 7:30 to get the upper school students, or at 8 to get the lower school kids. The parents said they were not notified by the School Department.

The Fire Department responded to the crash at 6:59 a.m. yesterday, said Lt. Dan Donaghue. That part of Lowell Street turns off of Route 110 at the armory and continues into Dracut.

“There were a couple hundred yards of Lowell Street that glazed over with black ice,” he said.

The bus slid into the ditch, but was propped up by a step at the front door. “We were very fortunate that the bus didn’t roll over,” he said. “The step from the door dug in ground and prevented the bus from rolling.”

Police found the students and the driver standing outside the bus when they arrived. The Fire Department checked students for injuries.

Superintendent Judith Scannell did not return an email asking about communication between the School Department and Trombly Motor Coaches, which operates the buses, and between the schools and the parents.

Michael Trombly, owner of Trombly Motor Coaches, was not in his office yesterday afternoon, and an employee said he would not be in until late this morning.

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