UPDATE: North Charleston PD said the school bus driver was cited for careless operation.
A report revealed the driver was attempting a left turn from Luella Ave. onto E. Montague Ave. when the driver’s side rear tires struck the center concrete median, causing the bus to jolt. The impact caused the driver to become “dislodged from the driver’s seat” and unable to maintain control.
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Several students were injured Tuesday morning during a crash involving a Charleston County school bus in North Charleston.
Emergency crews responded to a report of an occupied school bus hitting a building off East Montague Avenue just before 8:00 a.m.
Christian Rainey, Assistant Chief and Public Information Officer for the North Charleston Fire Department (NCFD) said they were notified that the bus struck a student before colliding with a building.
A spokesman for the North Charleston Police Department (NCPD), Harve Jacobs, said an investigation revealed the bus was coming off Luella Avenue onto Montague Avenue when the driver lost control of the bus, struck a pedestrian on the sidewalk, and then hit the business.
At the scene, emergency crews immediately began to assist the students involved – which included elementary-aged students on the bus and high schoolers outside of the bus.
Four out of the eight students on the bus and the adult driver were taken to local hospitals for minor injuries.
Rainey said a high school student was struck by the school bus and another high schooler was struck by debris. They were also taken to a local hospital and are expected to be okay.
“The pedestrian who was struck was a 15 year old who suffered minor injuries,” said Jacobs. “Another teenager was struck by a falling tree branch as a result of the collision and had minor injuries. Both teens were taken to MUSC.”
According to a post by North Charleston High School Athletics, the student who was struck pushed another student out of the way just before being hit.
The uncle of a student who helped others says that the children were traumatized from the accident.
“From my understanding there was really no warning,” said Markus Gambrell. “As (the students on the sidewalk) turned around the bus was jumping the curb coming at them so they had to scatter. A lot of them had their backs turned and one of the girls screamed out and then everybody dispersed.”
The North Charleston Traffic Unit is conducting the investigation.
First Student, who operates buses for Charleston County, told News 2 that the driver has been removed from service while they investigate what led to the crash.
“At First Student, there is nothing more important than the safety of the students we transport. We are thankful no serious injuries are being reported right now, including to our driver. We are assisting local authorities with their investigation into what happened. Our driver has been removed from service as we also review the incident. Given this is an open investigation, we are unable to comment further,” said Jen Biddinger, corporate communications manager for First Student.
The owner of the Neighbor Store still processing the damage.
“In the early morning one of my customers called me and said that the bus hit the store. I just woke up and called one of my friends out here. He came here and FaceTimed me showing me the bus inside the store. I was shocked and as soon as I saw that I took a shower and came here. It’s going to be a big damage in there. I have so much inventory in there,” said Mehul Patel, who operates the store.