MAHWAH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Two school buses carrying third-graders to a field trip were involved in an accident in Mahwah on Friday morning, police said.
The accident took place just before 10 a.m. on Route 17.
There were about 90 kids in a convoy of four buses, authorities said. The students all attend William B. Cruise Memorial School No. 11 in Passaic. They were on the way to Museum Village in Monroe, New York.
One of the buses braked suddenly, and another rear-ended the first. Seventeen students were taken to The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, while other injured kids were treated in the parking lot of a nearby Burger King.
“Someone told me the bus driver saw a garbage bag in the middle of the road. It was the middle bus. And she brakes for it instead of going over it, and when she brakes the other one hit the other one in the rear end,” witness Robyn Shucart said. “I’m so happy that they weren’t seriously hurt. So happy.”
“We crashed into another bus in front of us, and I went down and I hurt my hand,” one of the third-graders said.
CBS2 was told all the children will be OK.
“The students are doing great,” said Ken Parker of The Valley Hospital. “A couple of ice packs on arms, some just there for observation.”
Some parents say they learned about the crash not from the school but from news reports and social media, so they came to the hospital looking for their children.
“So nervous,” said mother Mary Nazario. “I was crying. I checked my phone. Why don’t they call me?”
CBS2 called city and school officials to ask why all parents did not receive emergency notification about the crash, but has not heard back.
Police are investigating where the bag that was in the roadway came from, whether falling off a vehicle or thrown there.
One of the school buses had to be towed. The other was operational, Carlin reported. Some of the children went on to their destination.