Seven Smithville-area schoolchildren sustained minor injuries Friday morning in a one-vehicle school bus accident.
But it could have been much worse, according to law enforcement and school district authorities.
The bus driver swerved suddenly to avoid a black pick-up truck traveling toward the bus at a high rate of speed while occupying at least part of the bus’s traffic lane. The bus ended up in a field.
“We want to commend the bus driver. It certainly could have been a much more serious accident than it was,” said Wayne Krueger, Smithville School District assistant superintendent.
The seven children went to hospitals for evaluation, but none of their injuries was thought to be serious, said Ashley Jones, district spokeswoman.
Several of the children sustained minor cuts from a broken window, said Will Akin, Clay County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
The accident occurred just after 8 a.m. near Northeast 156th Street and Long Road. Although the rural road’s center line is not marked, Krueger said, the bus driver and several passengers described the pick-up as occupying at least part of the bus’s lane. Its driver did not stop after the close call.
The children attend kindergarten through the fifth grade. Three were taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital, and four went to North Kansas City Hospital. Four uninjured students were taken to school, Jones said.
Coulter Bus Service of Smithville, which provides the district’s bus service, referred inquiries back to the district.