LOCUST VALLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) –The driver of a school bus carrying special needs students on Long Island died Monday afternoon following a head-on crash with a cement mixer.
A 64-year-old matron who earlier was said to be seriously injured, has since been upgraded to good condition. Four children were on the bus at the time of the accident, including three 6-year-olds and one 9-year-old.
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They, along with the driver of the cement mixer, were all taken to local hospitals. Three of the students were treated and released, while a fourth child remained in the hospital overnight as a precaution. The injuries sustained by the driver of the cement mixer were described as not life threatening.
The kids were on their way home from a day camp at Syosset-Woodbury Community Park.
Nassau County Police Inspector Kenneth Lack said the cement mixer first hit a Long Island Rail Road train trestle that it couldn’t fit under. The mixer then veered to the other side of the road and hit the oncoming school bus.
“It was a head-on collision. The front end of the cement truck is almost halfway into the school bus,” Lack said. “It was a horrific impact and we are fortunate that no one else was killed in this accident.”
The vehicles collided at the windy and hilly intersection of Oyster Bay Road and Mattinecock Court in Locust Valley at around 3:20 p.m., Nassau County Police said.
“This bridge — it’s well-marked. They have the heights listed up and down the road. Sometimes drivers see them, sometimes they don’t,” local resident Tommy Hornosky said.
Daniel Robson, 6, was on the bus and suffered only cuts and bruises in the accident. On Monday night, her mother, Cynthia, told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis it was a “miracle” that her son and the three other children on board survived.
“It was a miracle that it wasn’t worse than it was,” Cynthia Robson said.
Daniel and his mom said the reason his injuries are so minor is because he was sitting in the back of the bus when the accident happened.
“Always good to be in the back, because in a car accident you can be safer than the ones in front,” Daniel said.
Investigators said the cement truck was too tall for the overpass, with part of it shearing off and flying toward the bus. Parents also said that the bus driver’s final act might have saved the lives of the children on board.
“There’s no way he could have avoided that cement mixer, but he did turn away preventing a more severe accident than it was,” Cynthia Robson said.
Everyone on board the school bus was wearing a seat belt. The driver who was killed was closest to point of impact, police said.
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