SCOTT COUNTY, VA (WJHL)- A Southwest Virginia bus driver is suspended after a school bus crash sent fourteen students to a local hospital, some of them with serious injuries.
At last check, two of those students are still in the hospital Tuesday.
Virginia State Police said Scott County school bus driver, 48-year-old David Kinkead, swerved to miss a dog near Twin Springs High School in Dungannon. The bus veered off the road and slammed into a rock wall on Twin Springs Road Monday afternoon.
VSP charged Kinkead with failure to maintain control of the vehicle.
“The biggest thing we were concerned about was that the injuries were minor and not severe,” Jason Smith, supervisor of personnel and student services for Scott County, Virginia Public Schools said.
According to VSP, nearly 30 kids were on the bus at the time of the crash, and 12 teenage students were injured.
It was a scene immediately filled with people trying to help.
“I had several staff members that had come from the high school and the intermediate school just to be there with our kids, we had our school nurse that had traveled to the scene that was helping,” Smith said.
“We had eight children that were transported to Holston Valley (Medical Center) and they were receiving care and then we later received several others who walked in later and we treated all them and two ended up being admitted,” Wellmont Health System Spokesperson Jim Wozniak said.
Smith said the school system’s student insurance will cover medical costs.
Though most of the students were released from the hospital, “there’s some that are out today, their families have contacted the school,” Smith said.
As for the driver, “He is, at this point in time, uninjured physically as far as that goes, but of course his concern for these children is unbelievably high,” Smith said.
He said Kinkead is in his 15th year of driving buses for the district.
“He is a very good employee for us,” Smith said. “His character has always been a caring, compassionate, love for children”
Smith said he isn’t aware of any previous issues with the driver, but as of now, “He is not driving the bus for us but we’re evaluating all the information we have to see where we will go from there,” Smith said.
He said despite the crash, he still believes Scott County School buses are safe.
“This is an unfortunate incident that we had but I don’t have any hesitation of putting our children on the bus each and every day,” Smith said.
The school system’s safety team will be meeting soon to evaluate the procedures that are in place right now, according to Smith.
He said administrators welcome any recommendations from the community for safety improvements.
Smith told us one of the students injured in the bus crash is expected to spend at least another night in the hospital.
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