CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) — Chloe Overbee, a sophomore at Cleveland High School in Johnston County, was on her way home Monday — the first day she drove herself to and from school.
As she traveled behind a Johnston County school bus on Polenta Road near Clayton, she was shocked to see the bus flip over and crash.
“I started to see (it) going off the road a little bit,” Overbee explained. “(The driver) corrected to the left, and was in the other lane, and two wheels were up in the air … then (it) went back to the right and that was when I saw the bus flip.”
The wreck happened around 2:30 Monday afternoon as the bus transported 31 of Overbee’s Cleveland High School classmates. Eleven students had minor injuries, and the driver went to Wake Med with more serious injuries.
Overbee said she immediately called 911, as she heard the chaotic aftermath from inside the bus.
“Some were crying,” she said of her classmates. “It was scary.”
Neighbors came out to find the commotion along Polenta Road, where dozens of police officers and first responders rushed to the scene.
By the time Larry Medlin got outside, students were being checked out by adults at the scene, and some were being led away to ambulances.
“They had (the students) sitting down….examining them, talking to them,” Medlin said. “I hate anytime kids are involved in accidents.”
Grant Barbour – a student himself – said he and several others heard the sound of the crash, at first not knowing what it was.
“When people started saying it was a bus, that’s when it really set in,” he said.
Throughout the community Monday evening, there was a sense of relief that everyone on board the bus was able to escape without more significant injuries.
When it comes to Overbee, she is still processing what she saw on her first day driving to school.
She said she’ll take note of what she witnessed.
“It made me realize how quick something can happen to any of us,” she said. “It was like a split second.”