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Several students taken to hospital after train crashes into Virginia school bus

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 9:36 AM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – Several students were injured when an elementary school bus in Virginia was hit by a train Wednesday afternoon.

According to WHSV, 16 students were on the bus at the time of the crash. Virginia State Police said several students on the bus were taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

“Four students were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries,” said Rockingham County School Superintendent Oskar Scheikl. “Please keep the families of those affected in your thoughts.”

Police say the bus driver was stopped at a stop sign with the back of the bus partially hanging over the nearby tracks.

According to police, the railroad crossing arms came down, and the back of the bus was hit by a Norfolk Southern freight train that was unable to stop in time.

The 70-year-old school bus driver was charged with failure to obey a traffic control device/railroad crossing sign.

Norfolk Southern, the owner of the train, released the following statement after sending investigators to the scene:

Norfolk Southern personnel are working with authorities on-scene and will continue to do so as the investigation unfolds. We’re grateful for the quick action by first responders and that the reported injuries are minor.

We believe that the crew appropriately sounded the horn and that the train was traveling under the speed limit for the area. Further, we understand that the crossing lights and gates were properly activated.

Police said the conductor and engineer were the only people on the train and neither was injured in the crash.

Rockingham County Fire Chief Jeremy Holloway said he was proud of his team and its response Wednesday afternoon. He said some firefighters switched gears to drive ambulances.

“When the crews got there today, they went in, analyzed what injuries do we have, who can walk, who is wounded,” Holloway said. “We were very fortunate today we did not have what we consider life-threatening injuries on the event.”

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