21 students injured in school bus crash

Chopper 6 HD was over the scene of a school bus crash on Moss Mill Road and Old Port Republic Road in Galloway Township, New Jersey on Thursday, March 29th.

March 30, 2012 11:43:37 AM PDT
Nearly 21 students were injured after an SUV hit the side of a school bus on Thursday afternoon in Atlantic County.

The students in the back of the bus really felt the impact of where the SUV hit the bus.

Some had on seatbelts, others did not, but many escaped with minor injuries. The SUV driver, 50-year-old Peter Walker of Galloway, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

The school bus, driven by 21-year-old Jennifer McDonald of Egg Harbor, was carrying 30 kids from Smithville Elementary School in Galloway Township when it collided with an SUV around 3:30 p.m. on Moss Mill Road and Old Port Republic Road.

Police say McDonald attempted to make a left-hand turn onto Moss Mill Road when it collided with a Ford Explorer.

"All of a sudden there was this big crash and there was glass everywhere," said student Carlos Rivera.

Dozens of first responders rushed to the intersection to help the injured.

Rescuers said 21 of those students required treatment for minor injuries. The driver of that Ford, Walker, had to be airlifted to Cooper University Hospital.

15 of the injured students were taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Pomona. Six children were transported to the hospital's Atlantic City campus.

A doctor who was treating several of the children there told Action News that the students were in good spirits and alert when they arrived.

"All were in good spirits, all were fully awake and alert, they were greeted at the door and they had someone with them the entire time they were in the emergency department," said Dr. Thomas Brabson, Atlanticare Regional.

"Some people got blood on their shoulders some people just got cuts, and my sister got cut on the eye right there," described 3rd grader Kristian Ortiz.

The accident happened near the school allowing Smithville administrators to reach the scene quickly.

"The fact that staff members were here really helped to comfort the children and when the parents arrived, helped to comfort them as well," said Annette Giaquinto, Galloway Township Public Schools Superintendent.

Dawn Iannuzzio's son Dazzy suffered a minor concussion.

"It was very terrifying. I was looking at a lot of the kids, a lot of them are my neighbors and their parents weren't out there with them," said Dawn Iannuzzio.

"I remember that we were going and then there was a big crash and all you see is glass everywhere. I thought someone dropped something and then there's glass and all you could see is people crying and all you see is blood dripping on the floor," Carlos said.

"I'm glad he's okay, but it was very scary," said Jen Molina, Carlos' mother.

The accident is under investigation and any witnesses are asked to call Officer Kevin Costa at (609) 652-3705 Ext 086.