Students Sent to Hospital After Canterbury School Bus Crash

Dozens of students and two drivers were taken to the hospital after a passenger car collided with a school bus in Canterbury Tuesday morning.

The accident occurred on Route 169 near Bennett Pond Road around 6:30 a.m.

Connecticut State Police said the bus and a passenger car collided head-on and that the driver, Justin Rice, 30, of the car had serious, but non-life threatening injuries to his face and neck. Dispatch reported that Rice was trapped and required extrication.

NBC Connecticut spoke to the student who was in the front seat of the bus and she said the moment it happened, everyone was jolted forward and started screaming. 

"I was literally like I just need to stay calm right now for everybody else. And I was just like is everybody okay? Is anybody injured? And at the time nobody could really tell if they were injured, everyone was still in shock and tense," Jamie Rego said.  

State police said 34 students were involved in the crash. Some students complained of bumps and bruises on scene and were taken to Backus Hospital for treatment, while others were taken to the hospital for evaluation. A hospital spokesperson confirmed that the students were treated or evaluated and none of the students' injuries were serious.

Canterbury First Selectman Roy Piper said that the students were on their way to Griswold High School and Norwich Technical High School when the crash occurred. 

The driver of the bus, Patricia Avery, 59, also suffered injuries, according to a Backus Hospital spokesperson, but has since been treated and released. School district officials said that she is a veteran bus driver with a good record.

Police are still investigating what caused the accident. State police believe the car crossed the center line of the road, though the exact details are still under investigation.

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