Wednesday, September 09, 2015

School bus trauma

I had people from Washington D.C. in today review the program I'm working with at the college. We had a great meeting. The woman who manages the program is smart and I walked away at the end of the day with a list of things I can do to be more effective.  The day zipped by and I began to unwind on the drive home.

Traffic came to a screeching halt a few miles from my house. When the cars ahead of me began to creep around the curve and down the hill I couldn't see what was causing the commotion.

When I got near the foot of the hill, I saw that a school bus had been involved in an accident. Believe it or not, I'm not a gawker. I simply refuse to slow down and look at the carnage.

After I passed the accident, I called my brother-in-law who works at the school to ask if he knew anything about what happened. As I expected, he had the scoop...he always does and I'm not sure how he does it. But a driver hit the bus and left the scene of the accident. There were no children hurt.

Breathing a sigh of relief, I drove on toward the house. The scene dislodged a memory from my childhood.

I rode the bus when I attended grammar school. The bus picked us up and then drove down a one-lane red rock road to pick up some of my friends who really lived in the sticks. 

They let high school juniors and seniors drive in those days and they weren't much older than me. Our bus driver was bullet proof and he drove with his foot on the floorboard to and from school. The buses had governors on the carburetors in those days which prevented them from going over 45 miles per hour. 

One morning we stood on our front porch waiting for the bus because it was raining. When the bus pulled to a stop, all 20 of us darted off our porch and onto the bus. The bus driver didn't let any stinking rain slow him down. His foot was on the floorboard as he approached a narrow wooden bridge.

Something distracted the driver long enough for him to veer too close to the edge and the right front wheels went off the bridge.  The bus slammed to a stop on the far bank of  a narrow creek. There were no seatbelts in those days so all 20 of us were tossed from our seats, and ended up in various locations on the bus.

Thankfully none of us got hurt, but we found ourselves with a new bus driver after that.


  1. That could have been a disaster, but was no doubt traumatic for school kids.

  2. Anonymous9:02 PM

    Scary story, Rick!!

  3. They let high school juniors and seniors drive in those days - Unbelievable!

    Well I mean I believe you, but Unbelievable!

  4. I was always a bit jealous of kids who got to ride the bus to and from school ... silly, perhaps, but it always seemed a bit glamorous. I never considered the potential dangers.

    Now, I've serious reservations about some of the school bus drivers I encounter on my commute these days -- disregarding 4-ways and speeding. Heck, they're a protected species ... annoying as all get out, but protected all the same.

  5. Most schools I attended I walked to no matter how far away it was. My aunt and uncles rode horses into town. My mother used to ride a horse when she went to school too but my aunt and uncles were in school the same time I was. When I moved to a town big enough for buses I rode. Our driver was an old curmudgeon. He had no patience with teenage girls and their squeals for anything from rain to the latest singer. But he was careful and we always get to our destination safely.

  6. Happily, from childhood through adulthood, school bus drivers are among the most conscientious people I ever met.

  7. My town is still reeling from a bus accident with deaths (last year). It is frightening and all I can think of is those poor parents and the terrible message that was delivered to them. You put your kid on the bus and you never expect anything bad.

    So....I'm glad it was just an accident.

  8. I just stopped by to say HI! then back to bed. What a story.. Kids where the ones bullet proof back then. hahahaha

  9. Do buses have seat belts now? They didn't when my kids went to school. When I was growing up we didn't have school buses. They hadn't been invented yet. The wheel had to be created first.


  10. OMG-that is a unsettling picture which works since it reminds me of Van Gogh. Our bus driver would always drive too fast and, in winter, always ended up in the ditch. Lucky she never rolled the bus over. I wonder about these bus drivers sometimes. Thankfully no one was hurt and I hope they catch the person who left the scene.

  11. I never had to ride on school buses when I went to school but this accident was pretty scary. You were some lucky.
    I'm glad no one was hurt.



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