WHITESTOWN — Eleven people, including six developmentally disabled children, escaped serious injuries Thursday in a grinding collision at a Boone County intersection.
The impact of the crash late Thursday morning at County Roads 100 South and 400 East was so severe it bent the frame of the Brownsburg Community School Corporation bus the children and their four adult chaperones were on, returning from a field trip at a Boone County farm.
It would require “a tremendous impact” to bend the bus frame, said Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy A.J. Naekel, one of the investigating deputies.
An unharvested corn field at the southwest corner of the intersection may have contributed to the accident.
Bus driver Megan Guard, 23, Zionsville, told Boone County Sheriff Deputy Ron Mahoy she was going north on C.R. 400 E., and thought the intersection was a four-way stop. She was not familiar with the area, she said.
Guard told Mahoy she could not see around the corn and inched into the intersection.
Arthur Janneck, 28, of rural Lebanon, was going east on C.R. 100 E. He told Mahoy he saw the bus, a compact model painted a non-traditional white, too late to avoid impact.
Skid marks suggest that Janneck hit the brakes on his black Kia Spectra a few feet before the intersection.
The Kia spun 90 degrees to the left and stopped partially off the road on the northeast corner of the intersection, against a road marker post.
Surrounded by firefighters and their escorts, the children sat on a lawn under a tree while a replacement bus was brought from Brownsburg. Some of the children munched on snacks.
As they waited for their replacement bus, Naekel gave each child a police badge sticker.
“I would have given them all teddy bears, but I only have two with me,” Naekel said.
Whitestown Fire Department firefighters and Boone County EMS medics examined all 11 occupants; none were taken to hospitals. Medical waivers were signed by the chaperones.
The children were belted into their seats, Mahoy said.
All of the children’s parents were notified immediately after school officials learned about the accident, said Vicky Murphy, BCSC coordinator of communications.
“As is the procedure when a bus is involved in an accident, a backup bus, service truck and two mechanics were dispatched to the scene,” she said. “Brownsburg Community School Corporation is committed to keeping our students safe. We’re happy to report that the driver and passengers have safely returned to Brownsburg.”
School officials will review the final accident report, Murphy said.