Driver charged in school bus crash

SUV was pinned against tree after school bus collided with it
May 26, 2011 9:00:00 PM PDT
Raleigh police say a school bus driver who crashed and damaged six cars in the school zone at West Millbrook Middle School Thursday is facing charges.

The driver is charged with careless and reckless driving. Investigators believe he was going 20 mph over the posted speed limit just seconds before the crash.

Chopper11 HD flew over the scene shorter after the wreck Thursday.

The bus was traveling down Strickland Road and police say 21-year-old Lamount Lynch of Wendell was going 55 mph and the posted speed is 35 mph.

Although the bus slowed before impact, it sideswiped three cars waiting to turn into the school's carpool line, according to police. They say Lynch then crossed the center line and hit a stopped car that was headed in the opposite direction on Strickland.

One of the victims of the crash says the incident was downright scary.

"He [Lynch] shouldn't be going that fast," Bill Anderson said.

The 76-year-old says his car was the first vehicle hit by the bus.

"I heard a crash," Anderson said. "It scared me to death."

Anderson was one of three cars waiting to turn into West Millbrook Middle School, when he looked up and saw the bus barreling his way.

"He hit the side of my car, and then the front of my car, knocked the wheel off of it," Anderson said.

It left him wondering, "What in the world is this guy doing?"

Six vehicles were damaged in the wreck, but no one was seriously hurt.

Lynch told school officials another driver was coming toward him the wrong way and he swerved to miss the vehicle. However, there is nothing in the police report to back up that claim and neither does Anderson's eyewitness account.

"I didn't see any car coming in the other lane," Anderson said. "I did not see that. There was nobody in front of him. Why didn't he just keep on going straight instead of turning into the school like he did?"

Anderson says the wreck could have turned out much worse and he feels school bus drivers should be held at a higher standard.

"They've got responsibility for children," he added.

And that's why Anderson thinks they should be cautious.

"You're around a school," he said. "You don't know what could have happened."

Wake School officials say they haven't seen the police report and Lymch is on desk duty while they review the crash. Wake's computer data system is being moved this weekend so school officials couldn't say how long the driver has been on the job, but it can't be long since you have to be 21 to drive a bus and he turned 21 ten months ago.

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