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EIGHT PUPILS ESCAPE SERIOUS INJURY IN BUS CRASH

School buses, with their high seat backs, are built to protect children from the kind of rear-end collision that sent eight Buffalo elementary pupils to Children's Hospital Monday with what authorities described as minor injuries.

The eight special-education pupils, who attend St. Lawrence Academy School 86, were injured when their Laidlaw Transit bus was struck from behind by a car at Military Road and Glor Street at 8:45 a.m.

All eight pupils were treated in Children's Hospital and later released after being shaken up and complaining of some kind of pain.

"They're well protected for this type of accident," John P. Fahey, the Buffalo schools' assistant superintendent for transportation, said of the school buses.

The high seat backs are built to protect pupils from whiplash and similar injuries when their school bus lurches forward suddenly in such crashes, Fahey suggested.

Monday's accident occurred when the northbound school bus was stopped, picking up a pupil at Military and Glor. The pupil had just gotten on the bus, and the red flashers remained on when the bus was struck from behind by a car driven by Rihao Shangguan, 33, of Fort Erie, Ont. Police did not ticket Shangguan, who told authorities that he applied his brakes but couldn't stop his vehicle in time on the wet pavement.

"Obviously, in bad weather conditions, drivers need to be careful and slow down," Fahey said.

The eight pupils suffered bumps and bruises, and several complained of neck pain, authorities said. All eight, ranging in age from 8 to 10, were taken by ambulance to Children's.

Six of the eight were discharged before noon; the other two were released Monday afternoon.

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