By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: March 8, 2019 | 4:18 p.m.
- Three students taken to hospital following crash, police said in statement
- Driver placed on administrative leave as investigation proceeds
PRINCE GEORGE – County police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding a crash involving a Prince George school bus after the bus went off road and struck a pipe and mailbox during Friday morning transports.
According to the department in a statement Friday, Prince George County Police were notified just after 9 a.m. Friday that a county school bus had “traveled off of the left shoulder of Pumphouse Road.” When it did, authorities said the bus “struck a mailbox and a culvert pipe before the driver was able to reposition the bus back on the roadway.”
Their investigation revealed that the driver continued their route, transporting students to South Elementary School and, according to police, “After the students were released at the school, the Police Department was made aware of the incident.”
Three students on the bus were taken from the school and transported to Petersburg’s Southside Regional Medical Center via ambulance with minor injuries, with school officials noting roughly five other students whose parents took them to the hospital for evaluation.
In an interview with Prince George County Police Chief Keith Early, he explained their investigation has revealed “the school bus was involved in a crash, the school bus driver did not stop at the scene and went on to the school, to which we were then notified about the crash, but it was not the bus driver who reported it.”
Friday afternoon, Prince George Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lisa Pennycuff said not staying at the scene of a crash and/or not reporting a crash isn’t proper conduct for bus drivers.
“They are supposed to report those incidents immediately,” she said in an interview. “The driver is to call and immediately report the incident and stay on the scene. We have members of our transportation department report to the scene. We usually have a police officer there. If needed, we have the bus pulled out, either by our staff and our equipment or if we need to call someone for help, we do that. We generally have another bus report and pick up the children and take them on to school so, that way the driver and the bus don’t leave the scene of the accident.”
Pennycuff continued, “So, for us, the director of transportation or someone he designates from his office would then accompany the driver for a drug screening, that is part of our normal process.”
She confirmed that it was a parent who made them aware of the incident and both the school division and parent alerted authorities to the crash.
“We are investigating this as a personnel matter now, so we will complete our investigation,” Pennycuff said, adding that the driver involved “will be on administrative leave until the investigation has been completed.”
According to police, their investigation remains ongoing and the police department is working closely with the Prince George Commonwealth Attorney’s Office “to determine further action.”
Stay with The Prince George Journal for the latest on this developing story