Students escape injury in bus crash

By Julie Swidwa

The Herald-Palladium, St. Joseph, Mich.


Nov. 30–PAW PAW — A state police trooper credited a school district with having proper safety restraints that kept several special needs children from being seriously injured in a bus accident Tuesday.

It happened shortly before 8 a.m. near Paw Paw. Trooper Paul Gonyeau said the Van Buren County Intermediate School District bus was headed west on Paw Paw Avenue when the driver got distracted and drove through a stop sign at M-51, hitting a sport utility vehicle that was traveling north on M-51.

The SUV was driven by Misty Johnson, 30, of Decatur. She and eight children on the bus were treated and released at Bronson Lakeview Hospital in Paw Paw, Gonyeau said. The bus driver, Nicole Deckard, 38, of Lawrence was ticketed for failing to stop at a stop sign. She told police she was distracted when a student asked her to adjust the volume of music playing on the bus.

Police said that after colliding, the bus and SUV went through a field and into a section of small trees.

Gonyeau said the children on the bus were checked at the scene and no one appeared to be injured. He said that after they were loaded onto another bus, they were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Gonyeau said the students on the bus, all special needs children, were securely fastened in seat belts or other traveling devices, saving them from serious injury.


Posted by Tribune News Services

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