ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NY (PIX11)—Two, middle-school girls from Rockville Centre described how they escaped potentially fatal injuries, when two schoolbuses crashed, just feet from where they waited for their own bus to school. One of the yellow buses smashed into a brick light post, as it jumped the sidewalk, before it stopped on a stone pillar.
"Everybody was trying to run; I fell and the bus went over me," 12-year old Taylor told PIX 11. "My head and part of my back were not under the bus, but the rest of me was."
Taylor's parents did not want her last name published, but they were ecstatic their daughter was not seriously injured, as Taylor sported a skinned arm and knee.
Taylor's friend, 12 year old Caroline, was also at the bus stop, when the crash took place at the intersection of Hempstead Avenue and Richmond Road in Rockville Centre, just before 7:30 Friday morning.
"I just saw a bus run the stop sign," Caroline said, referring to a driver who was heading east on Richmond Road, carrying nine boys to Chaminade High School in Nassau County, "and the other bus hitting. It was really loud, like an explosion."
The other bus, which had the right of way, was heading north on Hempstead Avenue, when it tried to stop, before broadsiding the Chaminade bus. The girls waiting at the bus stop near Richmond Road started running, as the Chaminade bus hit the solid brick post--which stood about eight or nine feet high--knocking most of it down, before it came to a stop on the pillar.
Caroline noticed Taylor and the bus. "The bus, it drove over her, but it was in the air, and then the gasoline started leaking on her," Caroline said of her friend.
Taylor managed to get up with her scraped knee and began running again.
Elizabeth Reynolds, a Rockville Centre resident, told PIX 11, "I heard the crash, I screamed, and I ran right out."
Reynolds checked on the boys in the bus and told them to call 911. Then, she saw a group of middle school girls. "They were freaked out," Reynolds said. "In disbelief. They couldn't believe they almost got run over by the bus."
A total of seven ambulances responded to the scene, and some of the girls were taken to local hospitals, along with the two bus drivers. But no one was seriously hurt.
Robert Bartels, the assistant Superintendent for Rockville Centre Schools, showed up at the accident scene and told PIX 11, "The girls were waiting on the corner. They knew something was going to happen. Fortunately, there was that big pillar (on the corner). Who knows what would have happened if that pillar wasn't there?"
The nine boys inside the Chaminade bus called their parents and got rides to high school after the crash, because they were on their way to take "finals". A couple of the middle school girls also made it to class.
Elizabeth Reynolds was still shaken, an hour after the crash.
"It's a miracle no one was killed," she said.