Car driver faces DWI after 13 NC children hurt in school bus crash, officials say

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TAYLORSVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) – More than a dozen North Carolina students and their bus driver were transported to the hospital after a rollover bus crash in Alexander County Monday morning.

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Master Trooper Jeffrey Swagger said the crash, which happened at 7:36 a.m. on Icard Ridge Road near Hwy 127 near West Alexander Middle School near the Bethlehem community.

Troopers say a Toyota passenger car crossed the center line and struck the bus. Thirteen students and the bus driver were rushed to three different area hospitals – Caldwell Memorial Hospital, Frye Regional Medical Center and Catawba Valley Medical Center.

Of the thirteen injured on the bus, troopers say 12 were categorized as minor injuries and one was listed in critical condition.

One student talked to WBTV and said she did not remember much except, that as the bus turned over, others fell on her. 

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By 4:30 p.m., all but two students had been released from the hospital and those who remained had been listed in stable condition.

The driver of the Toyota, identified as 56-year-old Kimberly Ann Austin, was also taken to Frye Regional Medical Center. She is charged with driving while impaired and driving left of the center line.

Alexander County Schools PIO Renee Meade said there were 19 students on the bus at the time of the crash. The six who were uninjured were taken to the school.

Meade said parents of all the students involved have been contacted. The rest of the school was alerted to the accident through a school-wide message.

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No further information has been released.

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