NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A school bus in New Hanover County is out of commission until further notice after it crashed into another school bus late last week.
Initial reports state the brakes were not working properly on the bus, but school officials say that may not be the case. They think the bus driver may have pressed the gas instead of the brakes.
An investigation on the school system's end is well underway at this point to determine what exactly happened Friday afternoon.
The buses were coming from Ashley High School when they crashed on Carolina Beach Road near Cathay Road.
According to Highway Patrol, no one was cited at the scene of the accident because the driver told troopers the brakes failed. The school system, however, believes the driver may have pressed the wrong pedal.
The accident caused substantial damage to the bus and even sent some students to the hospital.
"We're in the process of inspecting the bus to see if there's any other issues when it comes to brakes that weren't initially realized during the initial data," explained Ken Nance with NHC Schools Transportation. "But right now we can't see that it was a braking issue. It was quite possibly an error on the part of the driver but again we can't know that at this point in time."
The Transportation Board will hear the case Wednesday morning and decide what to do next. It's still too early to say if the driver will face any consequences.
According to state law, the school system must get each and every bus inspected every month.
This particular bus with the alleged brake problems was inspected on Feb. 20 and passed without any problems, according to Nance.
According to Nance, New Hanover County Schools has had five accidents during the 2013 school year. One driver was cited for one of the accidents.
In 2012, the school system had 24 accidents. Out of those accidents, six drivers were cited.
The school system deploys 184 buses everyday and transports more than 10,000 students on a daily basis.
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