Johnston County school bus hit by 18-wheeler

From staff reportsJanuary 17, 2014 

East Coast Towing prepares to tow the tractor-trailer rig that hit a school bus in Johnston County early Wednesday morning.

PAULA SELIGSON — pseligson@newsobserver.com

— Thirteen people were taken to three hospitals Wednesday morning after a tractor-trailer rig rear-ended a school bus on U.S. 70 in Johnston County, officials said.

The accident happened about 7 a.m. near the highway’s intersection with Uzzle Industrial Drive, officials said. The 18-wheeler’s driver, Kenneth Greene II, was hospitalized and was in critical condition Thursday morning, while 11 students were treated for minor injuries, according to authorities.

The truck collided with the bus as the bus slowed to pick up a student. Twelve students were aboard at the time, according to the Wilson’s Mills Police Department.

Seven students were taken to hospitals by EMS, along with the drivers of both the bus and truck, while other students were hospitalized later. The bus, No. 63, was transporting students to Smithfield Middle School.

Officials said students suffered only minor injuries, and all the students had left the hospital by the end of Wednesday. The injured were taken to WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh and Johnston County Medical Centers in Smithfield and Clayton.

The front of the tractor-trailer rig was caved in by the accident. Don Basinger, owner of D&J Cycle Center on the corner, said the left rear corner of the bus was damaged.

Wilson’s Mills police are still investigating the accident and say they could bring charges against the truck driver.

Tracey Peedin-Jones, spokeswoman for the Johnston County Schools, said guidance counselors were available for students with concerns. “This is an incident that does worry a parent, and it does worry students,” she said.

Peedin-Jones said she appreciated the speed at which emergency responders came to the scene. “It is truly appreciated the way that everyone worked together in order to put the safety of our students first,” she said.

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