17 injured in charter bus accident
by The Press and Standard | May 3, 2018 5:01 pm
When a charter bus wrecked on I-95 in the early morning hours of April 29, the incident was met with a wealth of cooperative effort.
The bus, returning 30 high school students and chaperones to Wilson, N.C. from a Florida trip, ran off the roadway near the 68 mile marker and came to stop in a wooded area at about 1:01 a.m.
The bus carrying the travelers, part of a Beddingfield High School chorus group trip, left the roadway and entered the median. It continued through the cable barrier, crossed the southbound lanes then went down an embankment before entering the woods and striking several trees.
Witnesses advised the large bus almost collided with a south bound tractor trailer truck as it crossed the southbound lanes.
That tractor trailer driver stopped and helped pry the bus door open so the occupants could escape.
The bus that wrecked had been following a charter bus carrying another 32 Beddingfield High School students.
The driver of that bus got off the interstate at the Canadys exit, dropped off his passengers at the Circle “C” Truck Stop and returned to the crash site to pick up the 19 uninjured occupants of the wrecked bus and transport them to Colleton Medical Center.
A Fire-Rescue supervisor was dispatched to the truck stop to stand by with the students until the bus could return to pick them up and transport them to Colleton Medical Center.
A second supervisor was dispatched to the medical center to assist in what would be an influx of 62 students and chaperones.
The Beddingfield High School principal, who was also on the Florida trip, stayed with the students in the Emergency Department.
“All the students were exceptional, calm and well behaved, which made the incident run much smoother,” said Colleton County Fire-Rescue Chief Barry McRoy.
The initial call reporting the accident reported one injury, resulting in a response by an ambulance and fire engine from Colleton County Fire-Rescue.
Once on the scene and assessing the situation, the firefighter-paramedics called for two more ambulances.
Eleven students and adults were treated at the scene and then transported to the Emergency Department at Colleton Medical Center by ambulance.
Two, including the bus driver, suffered significant injuries. The others received non-life threatening injuries (bumps, bruises, cuts and fractures.)
McRoy said “the medical center staff efficiently handled the sudden influx of patients and quickly opened the cafeteria to house the uninjured students and staff.”
“Colleton Medical Center was very supportive,” he said. “Their efforts allowed the entire group to remain together.”
Colleton County High School Band Director Tom Finigan came to the medical center to provide support.
The charter bus company owner, as well as some parents, traveled from North Carolina to Walterboro.
After being cleared from the accident five additional Firefighter-Paramedics were sent to assist personnel at Colleton Medical Center.
Six other students were evaluated in the medical center’s emergency department after they arrived at the facility by bus, bringing the total number of injured to 17.
All students and staff were released by early morning. The bus driver remains hospitalized.
The students and chaperones remained in the cafeteria for about four hours until another bus came to pick them up to continue their trip home.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol investigated the crash.