911 Tapes of Deadly Bus Crash Released

A reconstruction team returned Friday to the site of a bus crash that killed a high school student. Meantime, newly released 911 tapes give insight into what witnesses saw when they ran up to the crash scene to help.

Witnesses could hear the children screaming as they got close to the bus. A woman could be heard telling the dispatcher one child appeared to be dead.

Police say the driver of a gravel truck crossed the center line before crashing into a school bus in rural Pendleton County.

16-year-old student Daniel Wood died at the scene. 10 children between the ages of 5 and 16 and the drivers of both vehicles were taken to St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Grant County. They were all treated for minor injuries and have since then been released.

The accident happened along Highway 22 West at Ballinger Road between Falmouth and Williamstown.

An official with Pendleton County Schools says the bus was picking up children at the time of the crash.

The truck driver has been identified at Francisco Yulfo. He's been driving for XXL Trucking out of West Liberty for only a few weeks, but police say he does have prior experience with large trucks.

The bus was driven by Sue Simpson who is being described as an experienced driver. Police say she handled the situation as best she could and say she probably kept students from having more serious injuries.

Both drivers have been drug tested, which is standard after a crash.

Police say Yulfo is a Kentucky resident and has a valid license. They say they haven't ruled out the possibility of filing charges against him.

Wood, the student that died was said by both school officials and his friends to be "an outstanding person". The young man was well liked, and participated in ROTC at the school.

His best friend, Monaca Keeon, spoke to 27 NEWSFIRST about the young man.

"He was a great person, outstanding. If anyone was having a bad day, he was there no matter what. He would always know how to make you smile," she said.

AP Story
School Bus Involved In Crash, 1 Dead

FALMOUTH, Ky. (AP) - One person was killed and 12 were injured in an early morning crash Thursday involving a school bus and a dump truck along a winding road with hairpin curves in northern Kentucky, police said.

The collision occurred shortly after 7 a.m. EDT Thursday on Highway 22 in Pendleton County, a rural farmland area about 40 miles south of Cincinnati.

State police dispatcher Amy Wyatt said one person died in the crash, but she didn't know whether the victim was a student or an adult. State police did not immediately release details about what caused the crash.

Pendleton County Sheriff Craig Peoples said the accident happened on a curvy stretch of highway west of Falmouth.

"It is a very crooked road," Peoples said. "We have a lot of motorcycle accidents. We have dump trucks turn over at least once a year."

Although he did not give details on how the crash happened, he said the dump truck was hauling stones from a quarry in the nearby community of Butler and flipped over after the impact with the bus, losing its load on the highway and in a cattle pasture.

The bus had extensive damage to the driver's side - all the windows from a center door to the back of the bus had been ripped out and the roof was dented.

The accident happened near the home of Ronald and Julie Hess, who said they heard a thud and opened their door.

"I heard kids screaming," Julie Hess said.

Ronald Hess said he was the first person to arrive at the scene and brought the children into his home. "They were shaken up," he said.

Hess' uncle, Richard Hess, lives nearby and blamed the narrow roads for numerous accidents.

"The road is not wide enough for those trucks," Richard Hess said. "If we didn't get off the road for them, there would be more accidents."

He said trucks travel a 17-mile route along the road from the quarry to Interstate 75 every day.

Dawn Whiteford, the wife of the pastor at Short Creek Baptist Church, said people in the tight-knit community are in shock.

A dozen injured people, mostly children, were taken to St. Elizabeth Medical Center in nearby Grant County. Hospital spokeswoman Christa Moore said 10 children and both drivers were treated for what appears to be minor injuries.

Peoples said 11 elementary, middle and high school students were on the bus when the crash happened. Crisis counselors have sent to Pendleton County schools, he said.

Peoples said the drivers of both vehicles will undergo drug and alcohol screening, which is standard procedure.

----Associated Press Writer Bruce Schreiner in Louisville contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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