(Updated 11:52 AM) A school bus carrying at least 12 Mullen-Hall Elementary School children struck and knocked down a telephone pole on Thomas B. Landers Road around 9 o’clock this morning. It appears none of the children were badly injured.
Arriving on the scene at 9:15 AM, spectators could see a telephone pole lying across road, the bus pulled over on the westbound side of the road, and a large green pickup truck sitting diagonally across the eastbound lane. Two ambulances, a fire truck, and multiple emergency response trucks were on the scene. The road was blocked to traffic.
A state police officer said the children had some minor injuries and would be checked out as precautionary measures.
At 9:20 AM an empty school bus arrived on the scene, but then turned around and left.
A woman leaving the area near the bus, where members of the press were not permitted, said “It’s bad, they’re taking all the kids to the hospital to be safe.” Another woman said “nobody’s hurt, apparently.”
Spectators said the bus driver was taken to the hospital shortly after the accident. The windshield of the bus had several large cracks across it, but had not shattered.
Gary W. Sylvester walked away from the accident with his grandson, 7-year-old Toby Martin. Toby’s sister had already been taken to the hospital, Mr. Sylvester said, adding that she was going to be fine. Toby recalled, “There was this big truck and it was coming round the corner really fast,” just before the bus hit the pole.
At 9:30 AM three more ambulances and Mullen-Hall principal Donna H. Noonan arrived on the scene.
A group of children got off the bus and an adult led them to some cars parked down the road. The tallest girl saw a newsman with a video camera. “Awesome, we’re going to be on the news,” she said, and then raised her arms above her head shouting, “We survived!”
At 9:40 EMTs began escorting more children into waiting ambulances. One boy was placed on a stretcher, but he did not appear to be in pain and was talking to a fellow student who walked beside him. The EMTs talked in friendly, reassuring tones to the children. A little girl, wearing a winter hat decorated to look like a cat, waited outside an ambulance as an EMT opened the back doors for her to climb in. The child looked a little scared. “I like your hat,” the EMT told her.
An NStar spokesman wrote in an e-mail that the accident caused approximately 2,200 customers to lose power just before 9 AM. Power was restored to 95 percent of all customers by 11 AM.
Falmouth police on the scene declined to comment on the accident.
In a press release police reported the bus driver stated that an unknown white box truck drove into her lane causing her to swerve off the roadway and into the utility pole. Anyone with information on the unidentified truck is being asked to contact Falmouth police at 508-457-2527.
This story has been updated from the original to include information regarding the white box truck.