UPDATE ON BUS STOP ACCIDENT,
DECEMBER 19, 2014:
TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY SCHOOLS
December 19, 2014 - Updated 4:00pm
TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY SCHOOLS RESPONDS TO TRAGIC INCIDENT AT CONNESTEE FALLS BUS STOP
BREVARD, NC - Superintendent Dr. Jeff McDaris confirms that three TCS students were struck by a vehicle while crossing Greenville Highway (Hwy 276) to board Bus 77 near the main gate to Connestee Falls this morning, just after 7:20am.
The students struck by the passing vehicle were Lisa Conforti (Gr 9 Brevard High School), McKenzie Shuler (Gr 7 Brevard Middle School), and Sean Conforti (Gr 4 Brevard Elementary School).
All three students were transported for medical care: two airlifted to Mission Hospital in Asheville, one driven by ambulance to Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard.
One student sustained a concussion and is expected to be discharged. Another sustained a skull injury, while the third has a broken femur. Both students airlifted to Asheville continue to be watched and treated for their injuries. We remain grateful that, while serious, none of the injuries is reported to be life-threatening.
The bus was on its northbound route and stopped properly at the main gate to Connestee Falls, where Hwy 276 meets Connestee Trail. The red flashing lights and stop-arm were activated, and students were crossing in the usual fashion. After the accident, the driver remained at the scene. We do not have independent report of any charges filed.
Contrary to earlier reports, Bus 77 is outfitted with dual interior cameras that feature GPS location tracking and DVR technology, and endless memory on a local hard drive to archive all events while the bus is in service. Stop-arm cameras are not installed on Bus 77, whose riders were struck in this morning’s incident.
The TCS Transportation Department runs 35 yellow buses, belonging to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, on morning and afternoon routes. Of those, six are equipped with the 8-camera kit that includes a stop-arm camera, at a cost of roughly $4,000 per bus: four were purchased locally, two provided through state funding.
At the time of the incident, 5 to 6 other students were also waiting to cross Greenville Highway to board the bus. About 15 students from Brevard Elementary, Brevard Middle, and Brevard High were already on the bus at the time.
After students on the bus arrived at school, counselors and administrators provided care for parents and students. All were given the opportunity to go home or remain in school for the day.
We will continue to update news outlets and social media feeds, as well as our website and smartphone applications.
We recognize thankfully that this situation could have been far worse, and encourage everyone to please #Brake4Buses. Drive carefully at all times, especially before and after school. Always be on the lookout for yellow buses with flashing lights and stop signs.
Transylvania County Schools serves roughly 3,500 students in nine schools: four elementary, two middle, two high, and one alternative middle-high school.