Within a 20-minute span, two Oregon school buses were involved in road accidents Thursday morning.
Police said the first accident saw 44-year-old Christopher Peters, 3216 Wick, Oregon cross the center line in the 4800 block of Seaman near Wynn Road and run into bus No. 43 driven by Vicki Pauken just after 7:30 a.m.
The bus was delivering students to Clay High School. Ten students were treated and released at St. Charles Mercy Hospital.
“I talked to him (Peters) and he said he might have blacked out. He’ll be charged for sure with driving left of center, but all of that is still under investigation,” Oregon Police Lt. Hank Everitt said.
“Ten were taken to the hospital with superficial injuries, fat lips, bloody noses, whiplash type of stuff. Eighteen were not transported (to the hospital), except for another bus that came and took them to the school.”
Both Lt. Everitt and Oregon Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Zalar said they thought Pauken, who Zalar called an experienced driver, handled the situation well.
“She honked and then she steered right and tried to avoid it. She was in a situation where she was coming to a telephone pole on the side of the road, plus the whole issue of the drop-off on the side of the road, so I don’t know if that was a good option for her,” Lt. Everitt said.
Dr. Zalar said, “It really was a miracle, if you ask me, because it could have been a lot worse. She said she saw it happen and he fell asleep or something, so there was nothing she could do to avoid it. It was a very unusual and surreal situation, but accidents happen.
“I just got back from the hospital, and they (students) are all fine and are going to be released. The driver of the other vehicle, my understanding is he is going to be fine, too. I don’t know what his exact status but they said he was going to be able to recover.”
Twenty minutes after the first accident, police say a driver pulled out in front of a bus carrying no students at the intersections of Wynn and Starr near Pearson Park. The driver of the car was cited, but Dr. Zalar said “there was very minor damage to the bus,” explaining the front bumper was scratched.