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Update: David Crockett High School bus crashes, flips, 27 injured, two in surgery

Staff reports • Sep 20, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Twenty-six David Crockett High School students and one Washington County Schools bus driver have now been confirmed injured in a school bus crash near Telford this afternoon.

According to Johnson City/Washington County Emergency dispatch, five ambulances and three helicopters have been sent to 477 Mount Wesley Road, Telford, where the crash happened.

The bus crashed around 3 p.m. Original reports indicated 20 students were injured.

Johnson City Medical Center has received patients from the crash by helicopter and by ambulance.

The hospital's disaster protocol has been initiated to handle the volume of patients.

According to information from the hospital, a total of 18 patients had been admitted to JCMC as of 4:45 p.m. Five of those patients are children and they are currently in the children's department. There are 12 passengers on the bus still being assessed, including the bus driver. One person was reported to be in critical condition. Eight of the injured students were taken to Franklin Woods Community Hospital.

It was unclear the extent of the injuries the students suffered. Radio traffic indicated that injuries included broken legs and arms, chest injuries back injuries. One of injured teenagers was reportedly pregnant.

Holston Valley Hospital spokesman Jim Wozniak said one patient were coming to that hospital in Kingsport. The extent of their injuries was not clear.

Initial reports indicated two patients were taken to Holston Valley.

“There are no fatalities at this time," said Leighta Laitinen, Washington County Sheriff's Office chief operating officer. "But there are some pretty severe injuries.”

Susan Kiernan, public relations officer for Washington County schools, said Ron Dykes, director of schools, has been on the scene of the crash since shortly after it happened.

She said bus No. 88 was transporting 67 students home at the end of the day when the bus crashed. This bus was substituting for bus No. 30. Dykes amended that number to say there were 63 children on the bus.

Kiernan said parents and family members should check the school website, wcde.org, for updates. Information has also been sent via text messages.

Uninjured students who were riding the bus have been sent home.

The road where the crash happened was blocked to deny access to traffic other than emergency vehicles. Parents of students were asked to meet at Mount Wesley United Methodist Church, 586 Mount Wesley Road, Telford, to meet students.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol was investigating the crash. A crash report from the THP said the tires on the right side of the bus dropped off the road, the driver overcorrected and the bus overturned.

According to some of the children at the Mount Wesley church, the bus tires dropped off the side of the road and the bus started swaying. They indicated the driver tried to correct and the bus started flipping.

Joshua Wilson, a Crockett junior, spoke to a Johnson City Press reporter at the church.

“Our bus was going really fast over a hill and something happened," he said. "We swerved and slipped. I heard it was three times. It was scary.”

Media covering the crash have set up across from JCMC. A news conference is expected some around 5:45 this evening.

Johnson City Press staff writers Becky Campbell, Gary B. Gray, Madison Mathews and Robert Houk contributed to this report.

Keep checking back for more information.

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