School bus accident in Alexander County

ROBERT C. REED/HICKORY DAILY RECORD: Alexander County emergency personnel leave the scene of a school bus wreck at Icard Ridge Road and Bulldog Lane near West Alexander Middle School on Monday morning.

State troopers charged a Taylorsville woman with driving while impaired after the car she was driving hit an Alexander County school bus. The bus ended up on its side sending 13 children to the hospital Monday morning.

Kimberly Ann Austin, 56, was charged with driving while impaired and driving left of center, according to a North Carolina Public Safety report.

Austin was allowed to remain at Frye Regional Medical Center for treatment. A blood test was conducted and results are pending, according to the report.

Bus 159 was transporting West Alexander students. The bus was less than half a mile from the school when the car, traveling south on Icard Ridge Road, crossed the centerline, collided with the bus and the bus overturned, according to a North Carolina Public Safety report.

Thirteen of the 19 children on the bus and the bus driver were transported to area hospitals with injuries. One child remained in critical condition as of Monday afternoon.

“All that were transported were responsive,” said Jennifer Hefner, superintendent of Alexander County Schools.

According to a press release from Frye Regional Medical Center, the hospital treated nine of those injured in the accident. Eight of the patients were treated and sent home. One patient was transferred to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, as of Monday afternoon.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the patients and families who had a loved one involved in this accident,” said Gar Atchison, CEO of Frye Regional. “When something like this happens, it underscores the life-saving work of our first responders and emergency providers who stand ready to care for those facing an accident or medical emergency.”

The six students that were not injured were transported to West Alexander.

The school contacted parents of students on the bus and a call was sent to all parents, according to the report.

Troopers from Alexander, Iredell and Caldwell counties responded to the accident.

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