School bus, log truck collide; 21 injured near Beechwood|[05/07/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 7, 2008

4:48 p.m. – Breaking News Update

Twenty-one Vicksburg Warren School District students were taken to River Region Medical Center with what were believed to be minor injuries Wednesday afternoon after an empty log truck and a school bus collided on Mississippi 27 just after dismissal from class.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said county first-responders and Vicksburg Fire Department paramedics were in Beechwood Elementary School cafeteria with injured students, awaiting transfer by another school bus to the hospital, about 5 miles away.

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“The students looked like they had been banged around and bruised some, so we decided it was best to move the students together, rather than having to take a few at a time to the hospital,” Pace said.

School bus No. 95-52 was exiting the Beechwood parking lot, at 999 Mississippi 27, when it was hit by the truck, witnesses said. The front end of the bus was smashed, and Pace said investigators were just beginning their studies.

The bus, driven by Joyce Ellis, 42, was carrying 51 students when the wreck occurred, school officials said.

The driver of the truck was identified only as Leo Nicholson of Waynesboro.

Pace said the students, paramedics, county first-responders, two deputies, Superintendent Dr. James Price and he were traveling to the hospital en masse.

At 4:30 p.m., River Region spokesman Diane Gawronski said the injured were being treated in the emergency room and she did not expect to have condition reports for at least two hours.

In a wreck at the same spot on June 9, 1993, the last day of that school year, a loaded gravel truck hit a loaded school bus, injuring students, some critically, and nearly slicing the bus in two.

Wednesday’s wreck was being investigated by the sheriff’s department, school officials and the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol.