By Judy Reed
A Nelson Township mom saw the Cedar Springs Public Schools bus stop in front of their home on 17 Mile, between Shaner and Stout, about 2:45 p.m. to drop off her son. She said she looked away for a moment, and when she looked back, she saw a car crash into the back of the bus.
“I heard the airbags deploy from inside the house,” she remarked.
The Kent County Sheriff Department, Cedar Springs Fire and Rescue, and Rockford Ambulance all responded to the scene.
According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the school bus was stopped on the roadway with its lights activated, when the driver of the at-fault vehicle became distracted and was unable to stop before striking the bus.
According to 911 dispatch, the 16-year-old driver of the car and her 16-year-old passenger suffered bumps and bruises. The driver was able to get out of the car early on, but it took some time for the passenger to get out, who was originally reported as pinned in. According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, both the driver and passenger were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Superintendent Laura VanDuyn said 15 high school and middle school students were on the bus at the time of the accident. One was standing and waiting to get off when the bus was hit.
“All the kids are fine,” said VanDuyn, who was at the scene, along with Transportation Supervisor Jerry Gavin. She said that two students bumped their heads, and one of them was going to the hospital to be checked out, due to having some surgery the week before. “It’s just to make sure the stitches haven’t been disrupted,” she explained.
VanDuyn said they did an all-call to notify parents in the district of the accident, and also notified staff and the Board of Education.
“We are very thankful to the Kent County Sheriff Department, Cedar Springs Fire Department and Rockford Ambulance for their coordination in making sure all the kids are safe,” said VanDuyn.
Another bus picked up the kids to finish the route.
The Sheriff Department said that they would review their investigation, and issue the appropriate charges to the at-fault driver at a later date.