GRAHAM, N.C. (WGHP) — More than 24 hours after a school bus carrying elementary schoolers hit a building Thursday morning in Alamance County, four children remain in the hospital.
At 7:16 a.m. Thursday, troopers responded after a bus heading to B. Everett Jordan Elementary School hit a building that appears to be a workshop on N.C. 87 in Alamance County, near Judge Sharpe Road. Troopers say that the bus went off the road, hit a culvert and then hit the building.
Troopers say six of the 18 students on the bus were taken to the hospital, and all injuries are minor. An additional student was taken to a treatment facility by their parent.
Two students returned home Thursday. Alamance-Burlington School System confirmed that a third is being discharged in an 11 a.m. update Friday.
The driver, 75-year-old Ronald Farrow, of Graham, was charged with failure to maintain lane control. He was not taken to the hospital.
Drivers stopped to help
After the crash, ABSS PIO Les Atkins says that people who lived nearby immediately came out to help comfort children.
“I was on the phone with my wife, and I said, ‘I have to call you back. Someone just ran into Uncle Keith’s shop,’” said Brad Buntin, who was driving by right when the crash happened.
Buntin is a former volunteer firefighter and knew exactly what to do when he ran to the scene, but he was not prepared for what he saw when he opened the emergency door of the school bus.
“All you can hear was the kids just screaming, and it was like a horror movie,” he said.
Together with another good Samaritan, they got all 18 kids off the bus.
“Even if the bus caught on fire or the building came down, the kids were coming out of that bus,” Buntin said.
His Aunt Angela Lloyd, who lives in the house next door and owns the building that was hit, also jumped in to help.
“I sat down on the middle of the tarp with the kids and just tried to love on them and calm them and be a presence for them because it was chaos,” Lloyd said.
She felt it was something to do as a Christian and as a mom.
“I know that I would want somebody to be with my child and them not have to be alone,” she said. “A couple of them were crying pretty loudly, and I tried to get as many on my lap as I could just to console them.”
ABSS Superintendent Dain Butler released a statement following the crash:
I want to sincerely thank the first responders, volunteers, and community members who quickly came to the aid of our students. The compassion shown by the many individuals who assisted, comforted, and cared for our children is deeply moving. Some of them sat with our students and wrapped them in blankets until EMS arrived.
In particular, I want to recognize our dedicated administrators, teachers, and staff who provided immediate support and comfort to the students at the school.
Their commitment to the wellbeing of our students is invaluable. I also want to acknowledge the emergency medical teams and law enforcement officers who secured the scene and tended to injured students.
While this was an unsettling event, it highlights the care and humanity within our community.
We are reminded of the good that comes when we work together, especially in difficult times.
Thank you again to all those who responded today. Please keep our students and families in your thoughts.
At 5 p.m. Thursday, the school district added, “We are grateful for the outpouring of support for our students and families today. We once again want to thank the many people who came to the aid of our students this morning and the bus driver. We ask for ongoing thoughts and prayers for those still recovering.”
The school system plans to have seven additional student support services team members available at the school on Friday.