- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 2, 2006

Eleven Montgomery County middle-school students were injured yesterday morning when a van skidded out of control and hit them at a bus stop in Silver Spring.

“The van appeared to have lost control and skidded [and] ran into the kids,” said Pete Piringer, a spokesman for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services.

Six of the students were taken to Children’s National Medical Center in the District with injuries described as serious but not life-threatening.

Doctors had to amputate one child’s leg, WUSA-TV Channel 9 reported.

Police said the white Ford van was driven by Sebastian Vasquez, 29, of Hyattsville.

Mr. Vasquez was traveling north in the 9300 block of Piney Branch Road about 7:10 a.m. when his van jumped a curb, struck a fire hydrant and spun out of control before hitting the children.

The bus stop is near the entrance to Forest Park Apartments. Yan Deng, a resident of the apartment complex, said she arrived at the scene shortly after the accident and saw three children on the ground near the van.

“They were screaming,” she said. “They were hurt really bad.”

Mr. Piringer said some of the children sustained arm and leg injuries, including broken bones.

Four were taken to Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park with minor injuries. One child was treated at the scene.

Montgomery County Public Schools spokesman Brian Edwards said three of the students taken to Washington Adventist were released by 11 a.m.

About 25 students ages 10 to 14 were at the bus stop. One of them was 11-year-old Isaiah Reed, who told WRC-TV Channel 4, “I was shaking.”

Mr. Edwards said one of the injured students is a sixth-grader, four are seventh-graders and five are eighth-graders, and all attend White Oak Middle School in Silver Spring.

The school system sent counselors to the school and to the hospitals to talk with students and families of the injured children.

“The students are concerned about their classmates, but classes are continuing as scheduled,” Mr. Edwards said.

The Montgomery County Police Reconstruction Unit remained at the scene for several hours to investigate the cause of the crash. Police said late yesterday that no charges had been filed against Mr. Vasquez, who remained at the scene after the incident.

“It was raining lightly, the roads were wet, and there were several other serious crashes along New Hampshire Avenue at about that same time,” Mr. Piringer said.

Mr. Edwards said the students’ bus was nearby at the time of the accident, and that officials did not consider closing schools because of forecasts for rain.

Residents of the apartments said they had tried to get the county to move the bus stop, which is along a stone wall at the base of the driveway to the apartments. They also suggested a stoplight at the driveway because cars often speed on Piney Branch Road.

“Somebody’s going to lose their life,” resident Mike Smith said.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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