CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A mini school bus with young children flipped after colliding with a car in a Long Island neighborhood.
First responders report some heart stopping moments during the accident.
The children all four, five, and six years-old were on their way to a special class in Central Islip when their mini school bus collided with a sedan and careened off Islip Avenue.
It flipped and rolled over a fence into the yard of a Locust Street home.
“If it wasn’t for the matron and the school bus driver making sure the kids were strapped in… could have been ten times worse,” chief medic Scott Crosby said.
The matron and bus driver made sure the children were out and safe said homeowners who came running just before 11:30 a.m.
“(The children) were all good, they were all in shock, I was trying to talk to them but they were all in shock,” witness Allesandra Hernandez said.
The seven kindergartners were taken by ambulance as a precaution to area hospitals, escorted by Suffolk school officials.
“Being protected in the seatbelts made a big difference in preventing serious harm,” Dr. Eric Decena said.
Emergency room doctors at Southside Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency Medicine remarked at how calm and composed the young victims appeared.
“Children are very resilient in terms of trauma.”
At the scene, investigators tried to recreate the accident. Colleagues of the school bus driver claim the sedan blew through a stop sign.
“We have to correct the mistakes of others, as school bus drivers, sometimes it’s impossible,” bus driver Maria Zepada said.
There was no way for the bus to avoid the car she said. Others offered praise of first responders. Seatbelt advocates renewed calls to expand laws to keep all young children in safety seats, car seats, and belted in back seats.
The matron and school bus driver, along with the two occupants of the car, were all hospitalized. All the children were treated and released.