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Two hurt in chain-reaction collision of 3 school buses

Three full school buses were involved in a chain-reaction accident on their way to Starpoint Central School on Friday morning.

A total of 63 elementary pupils and four adults, three drivers and a bus aide, were on the buses, eastbound on Mapleton Road, about a mile from the school. Rural/Metro Medical Services took a second-grader who suffered a black eye and neck pain to Lockport Memorial Hospital. The bus aide, who suffered cuts on her leg and hurt her arm, was also taken to Lockport Memorial. Injuries were considered minor.

The second-grader was on the third bus, which had 22 children on it, and the bus aide was on the second bus, which was a smaller bus with four children, including two in wheelchairs. The first bus had 37 pupils.

Superintendent C. Douglas Whelan said it was raining and a long line of buses was slowing down as a bus stopped at a home at 4718 Mapleton Road, the last stop before coming to the school.

"Witnesses told us all the buses had their lights on and had slowed, but for some reason the third bus just didn't stop," Whelan said.

Whelan praised the emergency workers from Rural/Metro, Wendelville Fire Department, Shawnee Fire Department, North Amherst Fire Department, Niagara County Sheriff's Department, and especially doctors from the Erie County Medical Center Special Medical Assistance Rescue Team who evaluated the pupils before transporting them to school.

He said the firefighters also stayed on the buses to help calm the children.

"One child in a wheelchair asked to talk to someone and he was taken to an ambulance until a principal came. He was upset and needed to settle down. He was OK and just needed a hug," Whelan said.

All of the children and some parents gathered at the intermediate school to talk about the accident and make sure students were all right. He said a letter was sent home to all of the parents of children involved in the accident.

"The doctors met with us and told us that the children involved could still be a little sore for a few days with minor muscle aches and pains. Parents were told to contact their own physicians if the pain lasts for more than three days," said Whelan.

An sheriff's investigation continued Friday.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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