21 Aug 2014
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UPDATED: LEUSD School Bus And Car Collide In Lake Elsinore

The crash was reported Friday at approximately 7:15 a.m. on Summerhill Drive.

UPDATED: LEUSD School Bus And Car Collide In Lake Elsinore UPDATED: LEUSD School Bus And Car Collide In Lake Elsinore UPDATED: LEUSD School Bus And Car Collide In Lake Elsinore UPDATED: LEUSD School Bus And Car Collide In Lake Elsinore UPDATED: LEUSD School Bus And Car Collide In Lake Elsinore UPDATED: LEUSD School Bus And Car Collide In Lake Elsinore UPDATED: LEUSD School Bus And Car Collide In Lake Elsinore

UPDATED A 2:13 p.m.: A white Honda Prelude and a Lake Elsinore Unified School District bus collided in Lake Elsinore today.

The bus loaded with 36 children was bound for Canyon Lake Middle School, according to California Highway Patrol spokesman Nathan Baer.

The crash was reported Friday at approximately 7:15 a.m. at Summerhill Drive near Canyon Ridge Drive.

The children were uninjured in the crash and were safely removed from the bus, according to LEUSD spokesman Mark Dennis.

According to Baer, the children were transported to Canyon Lake Middle School.

The school bus driver, 43-year-old Lake Elsinore resident Jeania White, was transported to an area hospital after getting ill following the crash, Baer said.

Injuries to the 18-year-old Honda driver, Ryan Geiger of Lake Elsinore, are being described as "major" by Baer, who confirmed the teen was transported to Inland Valley Medical Center.

Baer explained that the Prelude was traveling up Summerhill and the bus driver was pulling out from Canyon Ridge. The crash impact "moved" the bus and the Honda subsequently ended up underneath it.

During the preliminary investigation, Baer said, "We believe the Prelude driver was traveling at a speed greater than the posted limit." According to Baer, the speed limit on Summerhill at the crash scene is 45 mph.

In an updated report, Baer said the Honda driver was traveling at an "undetermined speed" and added, "The bus driver observed the Honda approaching, but misjudged [its] speed ... The bus driver pulled into the intersection. The Honda was unable to stop, and ... collided with the left front of the bus."

Drug or alcohol are not suspected as contributing crash factors, Baer said.

Rochelle Babers, whose 11-year-old son was on the bus, received news of the crash from her boy when he called from his cell phone.

"He was hysterical," she said. "He told me the bus was on top of the car."

Babers and her husband rushed to the crash scene.

"A lot of kids were hysterical, crying, shaking," Babers said.

The bus was equipped with lap and shoulder belts for all students, but it's unclear how many students were wearing them.

Babers son Daryes described what he saw.

"We all fell out of our seats and a couple of people hit their heads on top of the bus," the sixth-grader said. "The bus driver told everybody to get out [through] the emergency exit."

Daryes said the driver told kids to stay calm and she moved them to safety, but he did see the injured Honda driver.

"I was a litttle scared because the guy was bleeding when we got off the bus. The car was crushed," he said.

According to unconfirmed reports, TIP (Trauma Intervention Programs) was called to the scene. .

Dennis said the district is making available psychological counseling for students and the school bus driver.

"It's part of our protocol," he said.

Traffic was stopped in both directions on Summerhill for several hours.

Another school bus carrying students bound for Tuscany Hills Elementary School was impacted by the Summerhill road closure. Students on that bus were safely moved to Canyon Lake Middle School to avoid having them sit in the traffic jam; they were eventually transported to their Tuscany Hills classrooms, Dennis confirmed.

According to Dennis, both schools are resuming normal schedules today.

Parent notification was sent via the district's automatic dialer system to approximately 900 LEUSD households today at approximately 10 a.m., Dennis said. --Daniel Lane contributed to this report.

Editor's note: It was initially reported by a district official that the school bus involved in the crash was in route to Tuscany Hills Elementary School, but it has been confirmed the destination was Canyon Lake Middle School.

 

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