Falmouth School Bus Driver Not Faulted in Thomas Landers Road Accident

A school bus carrying Mullen Hall Elementary School students hit a utility pole on Thomas B. Landers Road near the Falmouth Technology Park.
GENE M. MARCHAND/ENTERPRISE - A school bus carrying Mullen Hall Elementary School students hit a utility pole on Thomas B. Landers Road near the Falmouth Technology Park.

Police have released a preliminary report on last week’s bus accident, in which a school bus carrying 13 Mullen-Hall Elementary School students struck a telephone pole on Thomas B. Landers Road before nearly tipping over.

Police did not issue a citation to the bus driver, and witnesses corroborated that she swerved to avoid a white truck that was in her lane.

The bus driver, Melonie L. Rivera of East Falmouth, wrote on a civilian statement form that she was rounding the corner near the Technology Park when she saw “a white un-labeled box truck coming head on in my lane” and took “evasive action” which led her “completely off the road.”

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Witness Robert W. Bruno of East Falmouth was driving his green truck behind the white box truck and also saw the white truck “on the wrong side of the road—past the yellow lines,” according to his written statement.

Ms. Rivera wrote that she then saw the telephone pole ahead and “slowly started to pull the bus to the left to avoid a head on blow to the telephone pole. I avoided the head on collision with the pole but my right side mirror ended up hitting the pole and blew out one of my windows which shattered glass all over my head and face.”

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Tire markings at the scene indicate that the white truck crossed the double yellow line into the bus’s lane, and traveled a “minimum of 65 feet, completely inside of it,” police wrote.

After clipping the pole, the report states, the bus then “rolled up and across a large rock,” causing it to tip up onto its left two tires. Witnesses “reported to officers that based upon what they saw, they believed that the bus was going to tip on to its left (driver’s) side,” the report reads. The bus then traveled 50 feet on two wheels before dropping back down “in an upright position.”

At this point, the bus had now crossed over into the incoming lane and was heading towards Mr. Bruno’s green truck. He swerved out of the way and hit a guard rail.

Ms. Rivera noted that “the white box truck had fled the scene” by the time the bus had come to a stop. No serious injuries were reported. 

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