- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A chain-reaction crash involving a Prince George’s County school bus, a cement truck and a car in Beltsville injured 23 persons, including 17 students and the school bus driver, yesterday afternoon, authorities said. Prince George’s County fire department spokesman Mark Brady said everyone involved in the crash sustained only minor injuries, but that 11 of the 17 students on the bus were placed on backboards and in neck braces as a precaution. “Certainly we’re looking at minor neck and back injuries that the paramedics want to check out,” Mr. Brady said. The crash occurred about 3:15 p.m. at the bottom slope of a hill in the 3200 block of Powder Mill Road in Beltsville. Mr. Brady said the school bus first rear-ended a passenger car and was then rear-ended by the cement truck. The other six students and the school bus driver were taken to area hospitals as a precaution. Five persons in the passenger car also were taken to hospitals for minor injuries. Mr. Brady said the driver and passengers in the car “appeared to be high-school age.” The students on the bus were traveling from High Point High School, at 3601 Powder Mill Road. More than 15 emergency vehicles responded to the scene. Mr. Brady said Prince George’s County police would investigate the cause of the crash, which he speculated was an accident. The driver of the cement truck was not taken to a hospital. As of last night, police said no one was charged in the case. A woman who has lived in the neighborhood for 12 years said motorists often drive too fast in the area. “They’re always going fast on this road, especially for it being downhill,” she said, declining to be identified. The crash was one of several involving a school bus in the Washington area this year. On Feb. 22, a Prince George’s County school bus carrying 30 students tumbled 25 feet down an embankment in Temple Hills. The accident occurred when the bus driver was distracted by her cell phone. No one was seriously injured, but the driver was charged with negligent driving. Last month, two Arlington County students were killed after their school bus collided with a trash truck in Arlington. Lilibeth Gomez, 9, and Harrison Orosco, 7, attended Hoffman-Boston Elementary School. Investigators are still trying to determine who was at fault in the crash, which injured more than a dozen others, including the school bus driver and the truck driver. On April 26, three students from Waterloo Elementary School in Columbia, Md. sustained minor injuries after their school bus struck the front end of a commercial minivan. The bus driver was found to be at fault in the crash. • Robert Redding Jr. contributed to this report.

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