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School bus overturns in Jefferson County, children okay


Dittmer, MO – A school bus carrying 26 students rolled onto its side and slid down an embankment after an accident Tuesday, but the quick actions of the driver prevented serious injuries to the children, authorities said.

The driver of the car that allegedly caused the accident, Kenneth Greer, 35, of St. Clair, was charged with careless and imprudent driving and felony drug possession.

The accident happened about 8 a.m. at Route 30 and Dittmer Ridge Road in Jefferson County. Authorities said Greer's car crossed the center line and struck the bus. The bus driver tried to swerve out of the way and the bus rolled onto its left side and down the embankment, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Al Nothum said.

The bus was carrying students in the Northwest R-I School District in Jefferson County to Maple Grove Elementary and Cedar Hill Intermediate schools. Twenty-four of the children, the bus driver and Greer were taken to St. Anthony's Medical Center in St. Louis County for evaluation.

"All of the injuries to the children appear to be minor, bumps and bruises," said hospital spokeswoman Mary Jo Wich.

The bus driver, Tina Stallings, and Greer were also taken to the hospital. Stallings was not badly hurt. Wich would not disclose details of Greer's injuries, but Nothum said he appeared to be seriously injured.

Nothum credited Stallings for keeping the bus on the road long enough to get past a steep embankment.

"If this school bus operator would have done anything differently, there would have been a couple of dead kids," Nothum told the Post-Dispatch. "She did everything right."

Stallings, with the help of other motorists who stopped to assist, got the children out through emergency exits.

Two of the children were taken to the hospital by ambulance; the others were brought in by bus.

The district has about 7,000 students. Extra counselors were brought in to both schools to help students deal with the accident.