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Indiana school bus driver in crash was blinded by sun, going too fast, state police say

Posted: 2:28 PM, Mar 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-21 21:57:24-04
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VERSAILLES, Ind. — State troopers said the school bus driver who crashed into the back of a garbage truck earlier this month should have slowed down because of blinding light from the rising sun.

A South Dearborn Community School Corporation bus was driving eastbound on State Route 350 in Aurora just before 8 a.m. on March 6 when it collided with a stopped Rumpke trash truck. Twenty-three students were aboard the bus and 25 people were injured in the incident, according to a crash report Indiana State Police provided to WCPO Thursday.

The impact of the collision moved the garbage truck about 40 feet, according to the report. One student was pinned in his seat.

The bus driver told a Dearborn County deputy that he couldn't see the trash truck at first because he was blinded by the sun. He started trying to maneuver around the bus, but oncoming traffic in the opposite lane prevented him from moving far enough to the left.

Another who was behind the bus corroborated the story. He told troopers that he saw the bus move left to avoid the truck, but it couldn't go further over because of the other approaching vehicles. The driver behind the bus had to slam on his brakes and swerve to the right, hitting a mail box, to avoid crashing into the bus. Other witnesses also told troopers that the sun had been blindingly bright at the time of the crash.

A trooper concluded in the report that the bus driver was going too fast and should have slowed down due to the blinding conditions, citing state law.

The driver has not been charged with any crime. State police Sgt. Stephen Wheeles said the investigation is still ongoing and the lead investigator is expected to submit the incident to the prosecutor's office for review sometime in April.

The prosecutor would then have to determine whether any charges will be filed.