Antioch parents upset with district’s handling of bus accident
By Frank Abderholden email@example.com September 12, 2013 5:32PM
Updated: November 12, 2013 3:26AM
Parents of the children who were on buses that collided this week in Antioch are planning to attend School District 34’s next board meeting to voice their displeasure with how the accident was handled.
Missy Baczek, whose 13-year-old daughter Desiree was on the bus, said her daughter told the bus driver she was injured, but was told to sit down.
“They are making her go back to the hospital because her shoulder is still swollen,” Baczek said. “She raised her hand (when the bus driver asked if anyone was hurt) and said she was hurt and the bus driver said sit down.”
Baczek’s 11-year-old son Shamus also was on the bus but was uninjured.
“For that to happen when she was injured, that just makes me real upset,” she said.
Baczek said she plans to ask school officials to see the video from cameras on the bus.
“I’m really livid about all this. This school drops the ball a little too much,” she said.
Antioch Upper Grade School principal Stacy Graff apologized in an email to parents.
“We could have handled it better,” added Paul Starck-King, District 34’s chief financial officer.
Both buses were headed east on Route 173 around 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, and both were turning right to head south on Route 83. The first bus driver started to make the turn before stopping abruptly. The second bus driver had begun turning as well and was looking in the direction of oncoming traffic, “but didn’t notice soon enough the other bus had stopped,” Starck-King said.
The first bus had a dented rear bumper and the second bus had a damaged front bumper and lost all its radiator fluid. It had to be towed from the scene.
Another bus was dispatched to load the students from the disabled bus and take them home. Police were called after the towed bus was taken back to the bus barn.
The crash scene was cleared when police arrived.
Starck-King said there were communication problems at the scene. He added that police and fire officials were not called because it had been two of the school’s buses in an accident and did not involve a private vehicle.
The bus driver who hit the other bus was taken for alcohol and drug testing after the accident.
As of Thursday, Sept. 12, Starck-King said four parents notified the district that their children had been injured. The students’ names were passed on to the insurance company.
“Our policy pays the first dollar amount and then as a district we have student accident insurance to cover things that happen during the school day or school related events,” he said. “The coverage is significant, in the thousands of dollars.”