Community reacts to head-on bus crash

Local News
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Update: 7:05 pm, 5/10/19, Friday

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — A ride home from a field trip Thursday afternoon turned into a chance for a bus driver to put her training to the test.

The crash happened on IL-Route 133 a few minutes outside Arcola.  A group of about 40 Arcola Elementary School students were on the bus. The bus was hit head-on by a car that was crossing over into another lane.     

Most of those students were actually back in school today. The most anyone was hurt was a broken nose. School leaders say it’s hard to shake the thought that things could have turned out much differently. 

“It’s really sobering, you know, and to know that everyone is okay. It’s a miracle,” said superintendent Thomas Mulligan. 

A miracle, but not without the help of a guardian angel in the form of a bus driver. Sherry Bare was driving students back from a field trip in Decatur when she saw a car headed straight toward her. Police say the driver, 19-year-old Korbin Barrett, had crossed over the center line.

“She hit the breaks and she started yelling, ‘Car car car,’ so everybody kindof reacted and got prepared and she absorbed the blow in the least possible damaging way she possibly could,” said Arcola Schools Superintendent Thomas Mulligan. 

Bare was able to pull over to the side of the road before the bus was hit, but she couldn’t go too far without risking the bus tipping over into a ditch. Thankfully, school buses are well-built, and the students were protected. 

“Those buses are just made to handle crashes. If that car hits another car or large van, the results are very different,” said Mulligan. 

Shannon Nall knew many of the students who were on board. “The first thing I thought of was all the students and everyone that I knew, and I was hoping that they were all okay,” said Nall. 

Bare was a driver with Gould Transportation Services. They responded, saying “We’re very proud of our bus driver who did everything she could to avoid the accident,” They went on to say, “The bus did its job and protected the precious cargo we were carrying.”

Aside from a few bumps, bruises, and bloody noses, everyone is okay, but they won’t forget that it could have had a different ending. 

“You’re wondering, ‘What if it happens again?’ A lot of the parents are still coming down from the shock of everything,” said Nall. 

The driver got two tickets: one for crossing over into the other lane, and another for not slowing down. 

Original: 4:10 pm, 5/9/19, Thursday 

ARCOLA, Ill. (WCIA) — Police are investigating after a car and a school bus crashed Thursday afternoon. 

The Arcola School District says a bus with first grade students from Arcola Elementary School was coming back from a field trip on Route 133 west of Arcola, when the bus was struck by a vehicle head on.

Illinois State Police say 19-year-old Korbin Barrett was driving westbound on Route 133 when he crossed the center line and into the path of the bus. The bus driver tried to get out of the way by slowing down and swerving to the right shoulder.

One student and one adult passenger on the bus were taken to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Barrett had to be extricated from his car and was sent to the hospital, but should be okay. 

All other students were checked out by emergency response personnel and all students have been reunited with their families.

Parents and legal guardians were contacted immediately after the accident via the School Reach communication system.

There were several adults on board the bus, including staff, parent chaperones, and the bus driver.

ISP said charges are pending an investigation. 

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