The terrible deaths of two young men who crashed into a school bus on Tuesday, May 17, may have involved two of the most dangerous factors threatening travellers on our highways today: distracted driving and alcohol.
The bus was making a stop at 1950 N.C. 61 in Whitsett, North Carolina, a small community near the city of Greensboro, to pick up a student on Tuesday morning, according to reports by the News & Record and other news media. A car driven by 20-year Skylair Christian Lee Myers of Burlington crashed into the back of the bus. Myers had one passenger with him, Samuel Colby Ray, age 21, of Gibsonville.
The car, a 2002 Mazda Protégé, wedged itself under the back end of the bus during the impact.
Myers died in the wreck. Ray died later that morning at Moses Cone Hospital.
There were 18 students on the school bus. Nine were from Southeast Middle School and nine were from Southeast High School.
None of the students was injured, and the bus driver, Pat Neese, also was not hurt. School officials later praised Neese for how the crisis was handled and for getting the students off the bus safely.
Evidence suggests that distracted driving may have been involved. The warning lights on the bus were flashing and its stop arm was extended, making the bus as visible as possible. Furthermore, the car was driving at roughly 55 to 60 miles per hour, investigators said. It did not appear to have tried to stop or slow down.
And, according to Trooper Greg Ingram, beer cans were found in the car, making alcohol a possible factor. This will be determined by toxicology testing.
Whatever the factors, the fatalities of this 20-year-old driver and his 21-year-old passenger are a terrible loss. The grief of their families will be inconsolable, no matter who is responsible or why.
It boils down to just a matter of moments that the 13-year-old 7th-grader who lives in the house where the bus was stopped had safely boarded the bus and taken his seat before the wreck.
If he had been climbing the steps of the bus he would probably have been seriously hurt. If he had been directly in front of the bus his injuries could have been much worse, or even fatal, if he had been hit when the bus was jolted forward by the extreme impact of a 60-mph collision.
We can also just try to be thankful that the driver of the bus and the children on it were not physically injured. But the trauma the impact and ensuing events will be with them for the rest of their lives.
If you have questions about legal issues in this article or in your own personal injury suffered in a wreck, call me directly for help – Lawrence Egerton, 336-273-0508, or 800-800-4LAW, or e-mail me at [email protected]. You can find more information about our firm, Egerton Law, at our website, http://www.egertonlaw.com/.
You will always talk to an attorney the first time you call.