courtesy of MorningSun
A 50-year-old woman and her adult son were killed early Friday when their car slammed into the back of Mt. Pleasant school bus that stopped to pick up its first child of the morning.
The bus had stopped just before 8 a.m. on Weidman Road west of Whiteville Road when the crash occurred, Isabella County Sheriff Michael Main said.
“The bus was stopped preparing to pick up the first student when a vehicle struck the bus from behind,” Main said. “The vehicle went up under the bus causing both the driver of the car and the front seat passenger to sustain fatal injuries.”
Both the driver – who Main said was around 20-years-old – and his mother were likely killed on impact, Main said.
Bright early-morning sun may have been a factor in the crash, as both drivers were heading east on Weidman road into the sunrise, Main said in a media release Friday morning.
The school bus was empty and the bus driver was not injured, though an elementary student was outside waiting for the bus at the time and other drivers witnessed the crash.
Mt. Pleasant Public Schools Superintendent Jennifer Verleger was on the scene as crews investigated and cleaned up; she called the accident a tragedy.
“We are a small community, and we are all a part of this community. It is just tragic,” she said.
Verleger praised the school bus driver, who is reported to have put out a fire after the crash with an extinguisher on board.
She said the school will follow post-accident protocol including safety inspections of the bus and screening of the driver.
The district already has a back-up bus in place to cover the route.
With school starting this week, Main asked that drivers remember to be particularly vigilant.
“The buses are out; if we don’t slow down, if we’re not prepared tragic things can happen,” he said.
Emergency workers cleared the scene after 10 a.m. and were working to notify family before releasing names of the victims in the crash.
The Isabella County Sheriff’s Department was assisted at the scene by Mobile Medical Response, Isabella County Central Dispatch, Isabella North East Fire Department and a medical examiner investigator.