Livingstone College administrator badly injured after wreck with school bus

  • Posted: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 10:10 a.m.
This school bus was involved in an accident with a car; the driver of the car is seriously injured, but the students were not injured.
This school bus was involved in an accident with a car; the driver of the car is seriously injured, but the students were not injured.

A Livingstone College administrator is badly injured after a wreck this morning with a school bus on Woodleaf Road.

Melissa Rivers, 40, director of career services, was flown to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, college spokeswoman Laurie D. Willis said.

N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper B.P. Potts said Rivers was traveling south on Woodleaf Road and the school bus was traveling north. Rivers, who was driving a 2013 Infiniti, left the roadway and traveled into the opposite lane. She tried to swerve, but clipped the bus.

The bus driver, Gloria Mesimer-Koontz, 62, of Woodleaf, also tried to avoid hitting the car by swerving onto the shoulder, Potts said, but was unable to move in time.

The rear of Rivers’ vehicle struck the front of the school bus, causing the car to spin and run off the shoulder. Rivers’ vehicle hit a fence and came to rest in a field.

“We don’t know if she had a medical condition or wasn’t paying attention,” Potts said.

Rivers was not wearing a seatbelt, but was not ejected from the car. The front and side airbags did deploy, he said.

Excessive speed was not a factor, the trooper said. He estimates Rivers was traveling about 60 mph. The speed limit on that stretch of road is 55 mph.

Six students on the bus complained of pain, but only one student, a 9-year-old boy, was taken to Novant Health Rowan Medical Center with neck pain. There were 28 students on the bus, a fourth-grade class returning to Woodleaf Elementary School from a play at the Norvell Theater.

The other students on the bus are OK, according to emergency radio traffic. Rivers suffered a “critical” head injury, a first responder said. She was found unresponsive. EMS took her to Rowan Medical Center where a helicopter was waiting. Her condition was not immediately available, Baptist Hospital officials said.

The wreck happened shortly before 10 a.m. in the 2500 block of Woodleaf Road between the West Ridge Road and Holly Leaf apartments.

The bus sustained heavy damage to the front end. Emergency responders asked for another bus to come and take the students away.

See map of the area here:

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