UPDATED: School bus crash on Jack Brown Road sends seven students to hospital

Published 7:08 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2023

(This story was updated on Feb. 8 at 10 a.m.)

SALISBURY — A West Rowan High School bus crashed into a tree on Jack Brown Road at the end of its route just before 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, resulting in minor injuries to the driver and seven students.

According to a school spokesperson, eight students were on bus No. 19 along with the driver. Seven students and the driver were taken to Novant Health Rowan Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries after the accident, and the remaining student was assessed at the scene and allowed to go home.

By late Tuesday evening, everyone had been released from the hospital except for one student who was being kept overnight for observation. According to information from the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office’s public information officer, Capt. Mark McDaniel, that student suffered a broken foot.

Prior to the accident, there was reportedly a fight between two students on the bus that required them to be removed.

McDaniel indicated that the driver continued on his route and at some point had a seizure.

The crash happened on a dead-end road with little traffic, and according to emergency officials, no other cars were involved in the crash. The driver was trapped in the vehicle for a time before being extricated.

The bus was carrying high school students, and doesn’t share services with middle or elementary schools. School officials say buses will be in place to handle the route on Wednesday.

Both Superintendent Dr. Kelly Withers and West Rowan Principal Jamie Durant immediately went to the scene, the spokesperson said, and then followed those transported to the hospital. The school’s assistant principal is remaining at the hospital to continue to provide updates to administrators, and counselors will be available at the school Wednesday for any students who may need to talk about the incident.

Parents were notified as quickly as information became available, and that was the primary concern initially, according to the spokesperson, who said once the parents of students involved were notified, a general notification went out.

“Initially we were unable to release the number of students on the bus because where it happened, there are several houses, so we were unsure at first how many students were on the bus,” said the spokesperson. Withers and Durant went to the scene to ensure all necessary assistance was provided and to determine the extent of student involvement, and to make sure everyone was safe.

Currently no cause for the accident has been provided, and the incident remains under investigation.