School bus, tractor-trailer collide in Farmington

FARMINGTON — Five students were taken to the hospital Tuesday after a Mt. Blue School District bus and a tractor-trailer collided head-on, police said.

Ann Bryant,Sun Journal

A Mt. Blue School District bus was struck by a tractor-trailer Tuesday afternoon on Route 2 in Farmington.

Ann Bryant,Sun Journal

A Mt. Blue School District bus and a tractor-trailer collided head-on Tuesday afternoon on Route 2 in Farmington.

Ann Bryant,Sun Journal

A Mt. Blue School District bus and a tractor-trailer collided head-on Tuesday afternoon on Route 2 in Farmington.

The bus was stopped at about 2:40 p.m. in front of the Life Enrichment Advancing People office on the Farmington Falls Road when the accident occurred, Superintendent Mike Cormier said.

Fourteen students — Josh Lasher, Megan Lasher, Lily Swearinger, Lea St. Laurent, Natalie Fahn, Roshan Luick, Brian Durrell, Sydney Coldwell, Kiesha Daggett, Brandon Durrell, Austin Hardy, David McDonald, Jacques Hebert and Ryan Voter — from Mt. Blue Middle and High schools were on the bus. Several received bruises and cuts. Authorities did not identify which five were taken to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington.

Their injuries included cut lips and bruised noses, Farmington police officer William Tanner said. They were able to walk off the bus to waiting NorthStar ambulances, he said.

The 1994 school bus, driven by Gerard Simard, 71, of Jay had just come down High Street and stopped at the sign to enter Route 2. After entering the highway, he put on his yellow lights to stop and let off a student.

A pickup truck driven by Sean Lynch of Brooks was traveling in the opposite lane and stopped for the school bus when the lights came on.

"I looked at the school bus driver and he was frozen," Lynch said at the scene.

He said he started to wonder why the driver was bracing himself and glanced in his rearview mirror to see a tractor-trailer bearing down on his truck.

Michael Matheny, 39, couldn't stop the 2005 International tractor-trailer from hitting the pickup, so he went around it and tried to pull back into the eastbound lane.

He didn't make it and struck the bus head-on, sending it backward about 30 feet, Lynch said.

Students called their parents from the bus and several arrived to pick up their children.

"They are obviously shaken and several students received minor injuries," Mt. Blue Middle School Principal Gary Oswald said at the scene. He said school officials also contacted parents.

Police said the bus driver injured a knee but was walking around after the accident and appeared to be fine.

The truck driver, who was not injured, was driving for FW Madden of Akron, Ohio. He had just picked up a full load of lumber in Dixfield and was heading back to Ohio via Route 2 to Augusta. He didn't realize he could have gone down Route 4, Tanner said.

Police said he was driving about 25 mph in a 45-mph zone, but slick roads affected his ability to stop.

No charges were expected, Tanner said.

Cormier said district officials advised the parents of the children not taken to the hospital to keep an eye on them and to seek treatment if they feel they were injured or if concerns emerge during the evening.

Recent snow made driving conditions "greasy," Cormier said.

A Maine State Police officer from the Commercial Vehicle Weight and Measures unit arrived to reconstruct the accident.

The bus and the truck were removed from the scene by Collins Wrecker, Tanner said.

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Comments

Lonny King's picture

Who in their right minds

Who in their right minds would rather not re-end a pickup truck but go around the pickup and hopefully swerve between the stopped school bus and the pickup? I looked up FW Madden trucking on-line and plan to leave my comment about this!

KRIS KUCERA's picture

Crossing into the oncoming lane?!?

How are charges not filed in this case? Sure, the roads were slick, but you "neveh eveh" swerve into the oncoming lane -- Driver's Ed 101. You bail to the right, off the road, or regrettably rear-end the vehicle in front of you. Again, how are charges not pending?

truck

If the driver of the bus saw the truck he could have tried to get the bus out of the way. get over to the right as mich as possible and tell your students to get to the right side of the bus. The pick up truck too. thats why you always watch your mirrors and your front all the time. I was sitting at a red light with my B/f and this dump truck came up right behind us over the hill. I looked in the mirror and saw it wasn't stopping. I pulled into the ditch as for as i could which was the best thing i ever did. The truck ran the red light and slammed into the telephone pole that was on the right side of the road where we were sitting. We were in a 280z we would not have survived. He split the pole in two. he would have slammed us into it the force of hitting the pole and the truck would have killed us. I made the right choice that day. I always look in the mirror. If there is a red light and somone ins't in front of me or traffic i will go through the light to avoid a collision. or pull over as far as possible. I would rather get stuck in the ditch then become roadkill. The semi was going 25 in a 45 so he was going slow. While I agree he shouldn't have gone in the opposite lane, he thought he had enough time to get in the other lane. But he should have tried to head into a snow bank. If it were me I would have told my student to get back in the bus ans turned off my reds let the pickup go then the whole thing could have been avoided. So don't pick on the driver he reacted. Would you have thought to do it differently if you were in that situation? Doesn't matter what they teach you in drivers ed, what happens when you get ito a skid, takes a lot of thought, sometimes you react because there isn't a lot of time to react. By the way, I'm a school bus driver. You can't avoid everything but you can sure try and prepare for it.

KRIS KUCERA's picture

Are you in the Matrix?

Your quote: "If it were me I would have told my student to get back in the bus ans [sic] turned off my reds let the pickup go then the whole thing could have been avoided." You and Mark Wahlberg sure would save the day.

Your quick thinking would all happen in split-second, real-time? Would you have prepared yourself a fresh-squeezed lemonade right before the crash too? Plenty of time, right?

You neveh, eveh veer into the oncoming lane, Cathy. Period.

And of course one should routinely check one's mirrors. That's why they're there, dear.

truck

I do check my mirrors every 4-6 seconds. I drove rigs too. first though truck drivers have maps, and little things called gps. Before he even left with his load he should have plotted a better route or at least looked at all his options knowing the roads were bad. Also if the pickup driver had looked in his mirrors he would have seen the truck and maybe could have got out of the way. Also if you had read the rest I did say check your mirrors.

Lonny King's picture

YES! I disagree, I have been

YES! I disagree, I have been driving big rigs for over 24 years. He was driving to fast for the conditions,if you can't stop then you are going to fast! He couldn't stop! It's his fault,yes it was icy but he should have been going slower or park the truck until the road conditions improve. I would have never passed the stopped pickup! I would have put the truck into the ditch on the right!

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