Dave St. Pierre, photo
BERKSHIRE — Seven children were taken to the Northwestern Medical Center on Friday after a school bus crashed on Potato Hill Road here.
According to Vermont State Police, all the children have since been released. One had a non-life-threatening fracture to the neck and the others suffered minor bumps and bruises, said police.
Police said the bus was taking Berkshire Elementary School students home around 4 p.m. and was traveling an estimated 25 to 30 miles per hour when it left the wet, icy roadway.
Vermont State Police Trooper David Pfindel said today that the bus was traveling southbound on Potato Hill Road when it went off one side of the road, crossed back over, and tipped onto its side, coming to rest on the east side of the road.
Multiple children were jarred from their seats, said the trooper.
The driver, 43-year-old Shawn Parsell of Enosburg, told police that the bus’ front tire hit the shoulder of Potato Hill Road, causing her to lose control of the vehicle. According to Pfindel, Parsell had looked down for a moment at a list of children on the bus when she hit the shoulder and began to go off the road.
“The momentum overturned the bus,” Pfindel said.
Parsell told police she had no serious injuries, and police indicated that alcohol didn’t appear to be a factor in the crash. Pfindel said that Parsell was issued a ticket.
Major damage to the side of the bus, roof and windows resulted from the crash. In addition to state police, fire and rescue personnel out of multiple locations, Border Patrol, Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles, and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office all responded to the scene. “The whole street was lit up with a sea of red lights,” Pfindel said.
As of Monday morning, the crash was still under investigation. “We’re just tying up loose ends,” Pfindel said.
The bus bore a Terricel Transit sign. The company is located in Swanton.