Teen driver injured in accident

Girl lifelined after rear-ending BCSC bus; no students hurt

A teenage female driver was injured in an after-school rear-ending of a Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. bus on Columbus’ near-east side.

Columbus police and firefighters were sent to Gladstone and 15th Street at 3:46 p.m. Friday on a report of a car under a school bus, firefighters said.

Daniel Rea, and his son Eli, 14, were traveling behind the school bus and the late-model maroon Mazda when they heard a loud crash and realized the car had gone under the bus.

“She didn’t even stop,” Daniel Rea said of the car’s driver, seeing that the Mazda had become wedged under the bus’ back bumper.

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“We pulled over and the cops got here really quick. It was horrible. It just froze me. It was devastating to see this,” Rea said. “We heard this big sound. It sounded like a train crash.”

Eight students were on the bus at the time of the accident but were not injured in the collision, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman.

The students were taken by another bus from the crash scene and BCSC officials did not allow the media to speak with them.

Before one student left the scene on the replacement bus, he did say that his bus — number 140 — was stopping at 15th Street where it normally allows two students to get off when the collision occurred.

Police were taking a statement from the unidentified bus driver at the scene.

Columbus firefighters extricated the woman from the car, which had Bartholomew County plates, and she was moved to a Columbus Regional Hospital ambulance and then to the LifeLine helicopter, which landed on the Greenbelt Golf Course.

Firefighters said she was conscious when removed from the vehicle and police said she was being transported to Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

Firefighters used special equipment and blocks to lift the bus off the car, and let the air out of the car tires to facilitate the process. The vehicle was then loaded on a flatbed wrecker.

BCSC Superintendent Jim Roberts was at the accident scene with Larry Perkinson, the district’s employee and student assistance coordinator, as well as school transportation officials.

Firefighters went on the bus to retrieve some personal belongings of students before the students were taken home.

Police and firefighters had cleared the scene on Gladstone by about 5:15 p.m. Friday.

The accident occurred at a time when police, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters were sent in several directions at the same time. In addition to the car-bus accident, emergency responders were sent to a serious crash at County Road 450S and State Road 11 where a medical helicopter was also called, as well as several other incidents.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.