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Five injured in accident

By Staff | Jun 9, 2010

Thanks to the driving skills of a seasoned Tyler County bus driver, tragedy was averted on June 4 following an accident in Pennsylvania.

Five students from Tyler Consolidated Middle School suffered only minor injuries after their school bus collided with a van in West Mifflin, Pa., a borough in Allegheny County located southeast of downtown Pittsburgh. The group of students was returning from an end-of-the-year field trip to Kennywood Park when the crash occurred.

According to sources, the crash happened around 7:30 p.m. on Friday near the intersection of Pa. Route 837 and Lebanon School Road.

The four injured children were transported to Jefferson Hospital in Pittsburgh for the treatment of bumps and bruises.

The remaining 34 students were taken to a West Mifflin fire hall to wait for another bus to take them home.

Eighth grader Sophia Kinnard was among the students on the bus. “We were sitting on the bus talking. We weren’t even a mile from Kennywood and we were all getting settled in, ” she explained.

That’s when the crash occurred. “It felt like the bus ran up on a curb or hit a deer and then all of the sudden people were screaming,” Sophie said.

The girl who was seated beside Sophie was injured in the accident. “She was shaken and her chin was bleeding,” she explained.

Officials reported the van hydroplaned and hit the bus head-on. The passengers in the van, two adults, suffered more serious injuries and were transported to Pittsburgh hospitals for treatment.

The five injured students returned to the fire hall to meet their classmates after they were treated. As a group, the students waited for another bus to take them home. Sophie felt the need to comfort her friends the best way she knew, so she asked her teacher if she could pray. “My teacher told me that she could not lead a prayer but told me that I could if I wanted to – so I did,” she said.

The boys took their hats off in reverence of the moment, Sophie prayed for her classmates and for the people who were injured in the van and everyone said, “Amen.”

Sophie’s mom, Diane Kinnard, was thankful the situation was not worse than it was. “I’m extremely proud of the students and thankful the bus driver knew what he was doing. I’m also thankful for the chaperones who took our children in as their own.”

“They say you should live every day as if it were your last, but that doesn’t hit home until something like this happens,” Diane commented.

The Kinnards are not alone in the knowledge that the situation could have ended more tragically.

Sophie relayed that in spite of the accident, the class enjoyed their trip to Kennywood Park.

An investigation into the accident is ongoing.