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Children escape with minor injuries following bus crash, Oct. 11


October 14, 2013
A collision between a school bus and an automobile, Oct. 11 left one woman hospitalized and eight children with minor injuries.

At approximately 7:50 a.m., a Valley Center/Pauma Unified School District (VCPUSD) bus heading westbound on Highway 76 was transporting 55 students — ranging from kindergarten to 8th grade — to Pauma Elementary School when a car crossed over the double yellow lines and struck the driver's side of the bus. The bus lost the left front wheel, crossed the eastbound lane and came to a stop on the dirt shoulder.

Eight students complained of pain following the accident but did not require immediate hospitalization, CHP Officer Jim Bettencourt said in a statement.

More than half of the children were collected by family and taken home, whereas the remaining children were taken to the school by a second bus, where counsellors and breakfast awaited them.

This was the third bus crash in the local community since the beginning of September.

The driver of the 2010 Toyota Solora, a 24-year-old female, suffered major injuries including a broken leg and a possible broken left arm and was transported to Palomar Hospital, according to the statement.

Upon hearing of the accident, Leiani Osugi, principal of Pauma School and VCPUSD Transportation Director Cheri McGee arrived at the scene to comfort students and coordinate collection by family.

They were joined by staff from La Jolla Education Center who also assisted in student support.

Speaking after the crash, Mary Gorsuch, assistant superintendent for VCPUSD said that "The students were shaken up," adding that she was "so proud of (the) team," for their fast response and assistance.

The bus could not be driven and had to be towed from the scene.

The cause of the collision remains under investigation but at this moment it does not appear that alcohol or drugs played a role in the accident, according to the CHP.

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