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Swim Coach Describes School Bus Crash: “The Kids Knew What To Do”

Posted On September 20, 2017

By Mike Perleberg

Photo courtesy Connersville News Examiner.

(Connersville, Ind.) – Indiana State Police motor carrier inspectors are aiding the Connersville Police Department in their investigation of a crash involving a Sunman-Dearborn Community Schools bus.

About 36 students on the Sunman-Dearborn Middle School swim team were aboard the bus as it was nearing its destination of Connersville High School for a swim meet Tuesday afternoon. A mechanical failure may be the possible cause of the scary episode that happened next.

Coach Brandon Loveless tells Eagle Country 99.3 he was sitting at the front of the school bus talking with the driver when it appeared the brakes on the bus suddenly stopped working. Traveling down a hill at that moment, there was no way to slow the bus.

“The bus just kept accelerating into the turn that we had. Luckily enough, we missed about everything we could miss right there.  There were signs and poles and other cars, even houses that were right there. We missed it all,” Loveless recalls.

The bus tipped onto its driver’s side, coming to rest in a yard. The scene inside the bus was chaotic, says Loveless.

“The students were definitely scared. They were worried what was going to happen. It was interesting to watch how the kids took care of each other through it all,” he says.

Students and the staff aboard the bus exited through the emergency door at the back of the vehicle and the hatches through the roof. It took only a matter of minutes to empty the bus.

“For a scary situation, they handled themselves very well. They are a very resilient group. It was awesome to see how they were in this situation,” Loveless says.

Sixteen students were taken to Fayette Regional Hospital in Connersville to be treated for minor injuries before being released to their parents. Loveless said the hospital CEO provided food for the students.

While school bus accidents are rare, this accident is a good example why schools routinely hold bus emergency drills.

“The kids knew what to do. It makes the drills worth it. That’s for darn sure,” Loveless says.

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