Several parents of students in Littlestown’s Rolling Acres Elementary School are not happy with how a bus accident was handled Thursday afternoon.
Two Littlestown School District buses collided in Maryland. Several students were injured and the buses left the scene before police arrived and students received medical attention, according to parents who were chaperoning the trip to third grade trip to Washington, D.C.
Lauren Nace, member of the Littlestown School Board, stated she was only aware than an accident had occurred and that the buses were returning with the students from a field trip to Washington, D.C.
John L. Warehime, Jr., president of the Littlestown School Board, said he was aware of the accident, and stated there were minor injuries, but he did not know exactly where the crash occurred.
“The stories just weren’t making much sense to me,” said Tim McCallister, whose 9-year-old was on the bus. “My main concern is if there is any kind of accident with kids, shouldn’t police and ambulances be called right away? Shouldn’t there be plans in place and, if so, why wasn’t it done?”.
A parent who was on the bus said one bus rear-ended the other. She was not entirely sure where in Maryland they were at.
“The bus was way too close to the bus on front,” said the parent, who asked that her name be held in confidence.
The parent said she was on the bus that rear-ended another bus when it slowed or stopped
She was not entirely sure which road they were on when the collision occurred. About 28 students were on her bus, she said.
“The students were wonderful, there was no screaming or yelling or anything like that,” the parent said.
Several students were injured, she said. One had a bloody nose, another lost a tooth and several sustained bruises.
As the chaperones were assessing the injuries, they were shocked as to what happened next.
“Before I knew it, the bus driver was back on the bus and we were back on the road,” she said.
McCallister said help was summoned by phone from someone on the bus at the scene of the collision, but “somebody then cancelled the call around 3:39 p.m.”
When the buses arrived back at the school, school nurses were the only medical personnel made available, the parent who was on the bus and asked not to be identified said.
“We were told by Dr. Wills that we had to stay on the bus,” she said.
Parents began to arrive at the school to pick their students up around 3:45 p.m., McCallister among them.
McCallister said the parents were then informed there had been an accident and were advised to wait inside the school until the bus arrived.
“One of the teachers came out told all the parents to go into the school,” he said. “We were told there had been a little minor accident, nothing serious, ann that it was in Frederick County.”
Everyone was told to sit on the bus and wait, with students only being allowed to leave the bus for bathroom breaks but also being told to immediately return.
“It was handled very poorly. Children should have aid rendered at the accident scene, if not at the school. There should have been ambulances there to assess them, other than the school nurses,” the woman said.
She was also not surprised the crash occurred.
“The driver was tailgating on the way there,” she said. “I was surprised an accident had not happened sooner.”
Dr. Donald Wills, school superintendent, was at the school when the buses arrived, the parent said. She was also very disappointed with how he handled the situation.
“He told them he was only going 20 miles an hour, which is not at all true,” she said.
The Times could not find a way to reach Wills Thursday evening.
The parent also said Wills told the parents they were responsible for determining if their child needed medical attention, and transporting them to the hospital.
According to a grandmother of a student, who also asked not to be identified, four or more of the injured students were transported by their parents to Gettysburg Hospital for treatment, while several others were transported by their parents to Hanover Hospitals.
Maryland State Trooper Sgt. Robert Fraley said his barracks was notified around 4:15 p.m. about the accident by Adams County 911.
Where the reported accident occurred, he said, is still under investigation.
“We’re still trying to determine the details and where it did happen,” Fraley stated.
“We’re not really sure exactly where it happened (at this point in the investigation),” he said.