LEHMAN TWP. - Seat belts helped save children from serious injury when their bus was hit by a flatbed trailer Thursday, authorities said.
The accident occurred at state Route 118 and Trojan Road in front of Pikes Creek Park.
"Anyone who has anything to say about seat belts in school buses should have been here," said Mike Moyer Jr., a paramedic with Northeast Paramedics.
Around 3:40 p.m., a 1995 Kenworth flatbed trailer loaded with railroad ties collided with a 2000 GMC school bus carrying an adult aide and 12 young children home from the Luzerne County Head Start program at St. Paul's Lutheran Church. The bus driver was taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township, and the aide, who had minor injuries, went to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, Moyer said.
One child was taken to the hospital by parents as a precaution, Head Start Director of Operations Michelle Coombs said.
"The kids were very lucky they were all belted," Moyer said. "It could have been a lot worse."
The driver of the truck, which belonged to Milton Enterprises Inc. of Watsontown, was not injured, he said.
The children were taken to Precious Angels Learning Center, located at the intersection, to await their parents' arrival. Owner Greg Zimmerman said he heard the accident and went out to see what it was, then assisted at the scene until police arrived. He offered the day care center as a safe place to bring the children.
"It worked out fine for the kids," Zimmerman said.
Coombs thanked the owner because it was a "perfect" place for the children to stay.
Asked if the truck driver would be cited, Lehman Township police Officer Kevin Novackowski said police would have to look into his involvement and try to determine his speed.
Lehman Township authorities and Northeast Paramedics were assisted by emergency personnel from Lake Silkworth, Jackson Township, Sweet Valley and Dallas.
Incidents with more than a few people involved could be considered a mass casualty, so the system "worked like it was supposed to" in the event the accident had been serious, Moyer said.
"Everything was executed very well," Coombs agreed.