Five Virginia Beach, VA, elementary school students and their bus driver went to hospitals with injuries after a car T-boned their bus at around 3:40 pm on June 13, 2017. The broadside crash happened near the intersection of N. Witchduck Road and Jericho Road, and the elderly driver of the car and her passenger both suffered serious injuries.
The bus was one of several in a line carrying students home from the Bayside Sixth Grade Campus on Jericho. Reportedly, 29 students were aboard. All the injured children and the bus driver are expected to recover.
While crash scene investigators did not have an immediate explanation for why, physical evidence and witness accounts indicated that the woman driving the car pulled out of a side street at a high rate of speed just before striking the side of the school bus. The smaller vehicle slid under the bus up to its windshield.
Witnesses further described the women in the car as both being in their 80s and noted that the woman freed from behind the wheel appeared disoriented, possibly from the impact. Virginia DMV requires drivers older than 75 to renew their licenses in person, pass an eye test that shows they have 20/40 vision or better in at least one eye and demonstrate that they possess medical fitness to operate a motor vehicle. Physical and mental problems that can disqualify a person of any age from driving include
- Vision impairments
- Conditions that require treatment with mood-altering, perception-altering or sedating medications
- Seizures, blackouts or loss of consciousness
- Conditions that require the use of special equipment that limit range of movement or field of vision
While, fortunately, wrecks involving Virginia school buses occur infrequently when measured in terms of incidents-per-miles traveled, the crashes that do happen can have serious consequences. A total of 398 school bus occupants suffered injuries in crashes on Virginia roads and highways during 2015, with 338 of those injured victims being passengers. When specific errors could be identified for at-fault drivers, the most-common negligent or reckless actions were improper turns, failure to yield, following too close and improper backing. Two of those may have played roles in this T-bone collision at Witchduck and Jericho in Virginia Beach.
The parents of the elementary school children hurt in this crash are no doubt relieved that their sons and daughters’ injuries were not life-threatening. That bit of good news is sure to be soon tempered by the arrival of medical bills. If police find that the woman driving the car was negligent, reckless or simply unfit to drive, the parents will have strong grounds for working with a dedicated Virginia Beach-based personal injury lawyer to seek compensation and damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.