10/04/13 — Nine hurt in morning bus crash

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Nine hurt in morning bus crash

By John Joyce
Published in News on October 4, 2013 1:46 PM

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Emergency workers treat the victims of a crash involving a Wayne County school bus and a van at the intersection of U.S. 70 and Beston Road early today. Investigators said six students on the bus and three people in the van were taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital.

A Wayne County Public Schools bus driver will be cited for an unsafe movement violation after an early morning accident on U.S. 70 East that sent six Eastern Wayne High School students to the hospital.

The driver and two passengers of the van that collided with the bus were also taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital with injuries. Traffic was slowed in both directions for more than an hour as emergency crews arrived in waves to care for the injured.

Russell Glenwood Spence Jr., 71, drove the bus across the two westbound lane of traffic on U.S. 70 from Beston Road, but did not account for oncoming traffic and was struck by the van, Trooper J.M. Holloman said.

The driver of the van, Marion Parnell West IV, 20, of Kinston, was trapped inside his vehicle and was only extricated after the other passengers had been loaded onto backboards and into waiting ambulances.

Emergency workers from Wayne and Lenoir counties and firefighters from the Elroy Volunteer Fire Department helped the injured students off the bus one at a time onto backboards and gurneys.

Eastern Wayne High School principal Gene Byrd was at the scene but did not comment on the accident.

David Lewis, executive director of information technology services for the schools, was also present and said there were 11 student passengers on the bus at the time of the accident.

"There were six off the bus that were transported by ambulance to Wayne Memorial Hospital," he said. "There were another five who were released to their parents. Whether or not they decided to take them to the hospital or the doctor, I really have no way of knowing that."

Lewis said the Highway Patrol was still investigating the accident and the district had not been given a final report.