A school bus and a sedan crashed in northeast Las Vegas early Thursday, killing the 70-year-old driver of the car and sending more than a dozen middle-schoolers on the bus to local hospitals.
The accident between a Clark County School District bus bound for Bailey Middle School and a white Ford Taurus LX sedan occurred near Nellis Boulevard and East Carey Avenue about 8:30 a.m., the Metropolitan Police Department said. The impact caused the bus to roll onto its side.
At least 15 of the 48 students on the bus, as well as the bus driver, were transported to nearby hospitals, said Capt. Ken Young of the Clark County School District Police Department. Police said about 36 children were injured.
The Ford Taurus had run a red light at the intersection and crashed into the bus, Metro said. The collision partially crushed the front wheels of the sedan under the bus’ back wheels.
Both vehicles traveled together until the Taurus separated, Metro said. The bus then rotated, crashed through a chainlink fence and drove into desert landscape before tipping onto its left side.
The driver of the sedan was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. A 10-year-old girl riding inside the car was taken to University Medical Center with critical injuries.
Young said the child was not a student at Bailey. It was not immediately clear if the victim was related to the deceased driver.
Thirteen students from the bus were taken to University Medical Center with what were described as moderate injuries, UMC officials said. The 40-year-old bus driver, Dawn Rice, also suffered moderate injuries, police said.
At least two students were taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. Hospital officials did not provide any information on their conditions.
‘We are celebrating the driver’
Young praised what he called “a great response from our driver” in getting students off the bus and providing “excellent care” after the accident, as Metro, CCSD police and the Clark County Fire Department responded to the scene.
“This could have been worse,” Young said. “At this point in time we are celebrating the driver.”
Bailey seventh-grader Kristiana Norris, 13, who was sitting with friends at the back of the bus, said the accident was fast and frightening.
“We heard like a honking … and then we turned and we flipped over and everyone was screaming,” she said.
She said two of her friends managed to open the emergency exit after a few moments, enabling the kids to crawl out one by one. She said she was unhurt but saw other students who were bleeding from cuts or had injuries to their backs or extremities.
Eighth-grader Taiwan Turner, 15, who was on the bus with his younger brother, Thailand, said the bus had a green light as it passed through the intersection about 3½ miles from the school and that the sedan ran a red light.
“I thought it was a dream or something,” he said. “Like, it was a nightmare. I didn’t know if it was real.”
Turner said the woman at the wheel of the bus had just started driving the route recently. His brother said the woman appeared to try to avoid the crash at the last minute by turning “into the desert,” referring to the fenced lot adjacent to the roadway where the bus came to rest.
Their mother, Paris Hines, said she rushed to the crash scene from her home as soon as one of the boys called her to tell her the bus had flipped to make sure they were OK.
‘Happy to see my babies’
“I was just so happy to see my babies,” she said.
All three seemed in good spirits as they left UMC, where the boys were treated for minor body aches.
“For the most part, we’re OK,” she said. “God is good.”
Yolanda Valentine, the mother of Johnathan Blount, an eighth-grader on bus, said she rushed to the staging area set up in a parking lot of a nearby Lowe’s at 2465 N Nellis Blvd. and was quickly reunited with her son.
Valentine said her son, who had an icepack on his neck, did not appear to be seriously injured. She said she planned to take him to the doctor to make sure.
She said she couldn’t understand how the bus flipped.
“It makes me a little nervous,” Valentine said, adding she probably will drive her son to school the next few days.
Other parents rushed to Bailey Middle School, at 2500 N. Hollywood Blvd., to seek information on their children as news of the crash broke.
School officials said the school’s principal was not on campus but had been informed of the accident. They declined further comment and asked members of the news media to leave the property.
Young said the school day would continue normally at Bailey, and the school would provide counseling to students who were affected by the crash.
Review-Journal staff writers Meghin Delaney, Harrison Keely, Lawren Linehan, Wesley Juhl and Rachel Hershkovitz contributed to this story. Contact Max Michor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0381. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter. Contact Blake Apgar at email@example.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.