No stu­dents hurt dur­ing school bus, pickup crash

Kent County News - - FRONT PAGE - By TR­ISH MCGEE pm­cgee@thekent­coun­tynews.com

CH­ESTER­TOWN — The driver of a pickup truck al­legedly en­croached over the stop line as a Kent County Pub­lic Schools bus was turn­ing onto Col­lege Av­enue from High Street on Tues­day morn­ing, jam­ming the in­ter­sec­tion and de­lay­ing the stu­dents’ ar­rival at nearby Gar­net Ele­men­tary School.

There were 29 stu­dents on the bus, Su­per­in­ten­dent Karen Couch re­ported. She said the stu­dents were eval­u­ated at the scene by Kent County EMS and then trans­ported by a sec­ond bus to school.

There were no re­ported stu­dent in­juries, Couch said.

The pickup truck driver, iden­ti­fied as Don­ald Os- wald Wilk­er­son, was taken by Kent-Queen Anne’s Res­cue Squad to Univer­sity of Mary­land Shore Med­i­cal Cen­ter at Ch­ester­town. He was treated for mi­nor in­juries, po­lice said.

The other driver was iden­ti­fied as Wil­liam Ge­orge Scott.

Po­lice re­ported that Scott,

65, was op­er­at­ing a Kent County Pub­lic Schools bus south­bound on High Street at about 8:55 a.m., try­ing to make a left-hand turn onto Col­lege Av­enue. Scott was un­able to fully nav­i­gate the nar­row in­ter­sec­tion.

Wilk­er­son, 66, of Ch­ester­town was op­er­at­ing a Dodge Ram pickup truck on Col­lege Av­enue, pre­par­ing to make a right-hand turn onto High Street. He drove past the stop line, po­lice said.

The ve­hi­cles “crushed into each other,” Lt. John Dol­gos of the CPD said Wed­nes­day morn­ing. The point of im­pact for the school bus was on the driver’s side, in the area of the sec­ond row of seats, he said.

Gar­net Prin­ci­pal Brenda Rose and Joe Wheeler, the school dis­trict’s su­per­vi­sor of op­er­a­tions, re­sponded to the scene.

Both ve­hi­cles were driven from the scene. Po­lice parked Wilk­er­son’s truck on High Street, near where he lives.

The school bus cam­era and side of the bus were damaged, Couch said. The

bus has been taken off the road un­til the ex­te­rior cam­era can be re­paired, she said.

Couch said per school dis­trict pol­icy, Scott was trans­ported by an ad­min­is­tra­tor from the scene to un­dergo test­ing for drugs and al­co­hol. His return as a driver will de­pend upon the re­sults of the tox­i­col­ogy tests, which are stan­dard prac­tice when a bus is in­volved in a crash.

With po­lice and emer­gency first re­spon­ders on the scene, the 600-block of High Street was briefly closed, dis­rupt­ing the morn­ing com­mute. North Col­lege Av­enue, be­tween High and Calvert streets, re­mained closed for the du­ra­tion of the in­ci­dent, ac­cord­ing to a post on the Ch­ester­town Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany’s Face­book page.

Other than a Ch­ester­town fire truck parked at the cor­ner, traf­fic on South Col­lege Av­enue was not affected.

Once the ve­hi­cles had been re­moved from the scene, fire com­pany per­son­nel cleaned up the road­way de­bris. They were on the scene for about 40 min­utes.

As of press time Wed­nes­day, no charges had been filed. PFC Marty Heine­field is the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

In this photo cour­tesy of the Ch­ester­town Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany, a pickup truck and school bus are wedged in the in­ter­sec­tion of High Street and Col­lege Av­enue Tues­day morn­ing af­ter the truck driver al­legedly crossed the stop line.

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