by Lisa Tome
Maryland State Police are on scene investigating a school bus crash which occurred earlier this morning, June 13, on Route 40 westbound in the area of Weaver's Liquors, near North East. Three children, all passengers on Bus 245 and all Leeds Elementary students headed to the last day of school, and an adult were injured. The children were taken to Union Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The adult was taken to Christiana Car Center.
Erik Ulmer was following Bus 245, his son's school bus, on Route 40 when he watched the crash occur. "When it happened, it was like I was watching a movie clip of it. I parked my truck and ran toward the bus," said Ulmer, who confirmed that his son, a fourth grader, wasn't injured. Ulmer also worked to comfort other children. "I was freaking out, but he's okay. I knew it was a bus full of kids. I got on the bus and checked on mine and others. A few said their neck or head hurt," said Ulmer.
According to Cecil Department of Emergency Services Director Richard Brooks, three children were injured - all minor. An additional 22 children were transferred to a substitute bus which was brought to the scene. "Everyone did an outstanding job," said Brooks.
Leeds principal Nikole MacDowell arrived at the crash scene. She kicked off her high heels, picked up a frightened child and then gathered all the students away from the crash scene. "Our friends (first responders) are taking extra care with three students," MacDowell told the children. She then promised them that after the substitute bus arrived, all of the students would receive breakfast at school and as an extra treat, popsicles.
Cecil County Public Schools Transportation Supervisor Vanessa Briddell also helped MacDowell with the students.
North East Fire Company, Singerly Fire Company, and a Community Fire Company of Rising Sun ambulance, all worked at the scene. Singerly Fire Chief Tim Poore also helped. "My daughter was on the bus. She's six and was not injured," said Chief Poore.