- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Prince George’s County school bus overturned this morning in Riverdale, injuring the driver and at least five students.

Forty-four students from William Wirt Middle School were on the bus when it overturned shortly before 9 a.m. on the corner of 61st Place and Riverdale Road, a few blocks from the school, said Cpl. Stephen Pacheco, a spokesman for Prince George’s County Police.

The driver tried to beat traffic and failed to yield the right-of-way while turning left from Riverdale Road onto 61st Place, authorities said.

Five of the students were taken to Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly. The other students aboard the bus were uninjured and taken to Doctors Community Hospital in Lanham as a precaution.

At about 10:30 a.m., Ryvette Smith, the emergency room director at Prince George’s Hospital, told a group of more than two dozen parents and relatives gathered in the lobby that none of the children were in critical condition and that most were in “pretty good shape.”

“They’re scared. They’re shaken up,” she said.

Prince George’s County spokesman John White said 20 students in all were brought to the hospital including five with more serious injuries described as “bumps and bruises.”

The driver, whose name has not been released, was brought to the hospital’s trauma center, but no information about his condition had been released this afternoon.

Kimberly Miller, said her niece, DeShaun Williams, 13, was bumped and bruised from the accident, but was shaken up more than anything.

Thirteen-year-old students DeShaun and Samantha Francis both used cell phones to call family members just after the bus flipped.

DeShaun landed in the back of the bus after the crash. Her knee was injured and her head was scraped and bruised, said her mother, Marscher Williams.

The driver will be charged for taking the turn at a “speed greater than reasonable,” Cpl. Pacheco said. The specific charges have not yet been determined, police said.

No other vehicles were involved, but the accident caused significant traffic problems, particularly off Route 410, a major exit of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

Sterling Meyers contributed to this report.

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