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North Hall soccer teams escape injury in I-85 bus wreck; games canceled

School's bus driver not at fault, police say

POSTED: April 26, 2008 5:00 a.m.

No one was injured aboard a Hall County school bus that was involved in a wreck on Interstate 85 while carrying members of the North Hall High School boys and girls soccer teams, officials said.

The front end of the bus collided with the rear end of a Chevrolet Impala on I-85 south near the I-285 interchange at about 3 p.m. Tuesday, DeKalb County police spokeswoman Mekka Parish said. The driver of the bus was not at fault, Parish said.

Parish said charges were pending against the driver of the Impala for allegedly making an improper lane change by cutting in front of the bus. A passenger in the car was taken from the scene by ambulance, but there were no indications that the passenger was seriously injured, Parish said.

North Hall boys soccer coach Kenny Childs said he was looking down "when the bus started skidding. I didn’t see the accident itself."

None of the 40 or so students were thrown from their seats during the accident, which occurred in heavy traffic.

"We weren’t traveling at any of rate of speed to do anything like that," Childs said. "The only reason the car looks so bad is because the bus sits up so high."

By the time Childs was interviewed by cell phone around 5 p.m., the teams were aboard a charter bus heading back to Gainesville. The scheduled games with East Coweta High School were canceled.

Childs said the students handled the accident well.

"Everybody understood the situation and stayed quiet and let the police and EMS do their jobs," Childs said. "We’ve got a mature group of kids."

The accident closed several left lanes of I-85 during rush hour, backing up traffic. All southbound lanes were blocked for a brief time while the students were transferred from the wrecked bus to the charter, Parish said.

Said Childs of the traffic jam created by the accident, "it’s a mess."


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