12/08/09 274 W - + 7 - 13 Train Versus School Bus in Onslow County, 1983

On the afternoon of Friday, January 14, 1980 1983, at a rural rail crossing some 11 miles north of Jacksonville, N.C., a home-bound school bus was struck by a Seaboard Coast Line freight train. The bus was carrying 55 students, and was struck in its middle. The bus was travelling between 0 and 5 MPH, while the train was moving at an estimated 20 MPH. The impact dragged the bus 218 feet along the tracks, and bowing the frame from the collision.

Forty-two students were injured, with the most serious transported to Onslow Memorial Hospital with a crushed pelvis. Another 11 were admitted for broken bones and other injuries. The rest were treated and released after examination in the emergency room. None of the six crew members on the train were injured, no did any of the 10 cars derail. No fire occurred, either.

Said a Highway Patrol officer, the rail crossing was in a wooded area, where vehicles had to stop close to see down the tracks. The train engineer said the bus had stopped at the tracks when the train was 3,000 feet away. And it was still stopped when the train was 200 to 300 feet away.

The engineer blew the whistle. When the train was about 100 feet away, he saw the bus jerk and jump in front of the train. The engineer pulled the emergency break, but it was too late.

The driver, a teenager, had thought she was too close to the tracks, and attempted to get go backwards. But she had the bus in forward gear instead of reverse, and the bus jumped into the path of the train. Source: News & Observer, January 15, 1980 1983.

It was actually in 1983…..I was on that train. From the poeple that stopped to help…..the first responders on the scene….and everyone else involved….everyone was very wonderful. Not glad that it happened but I am very thankful to everbody that stopped to lend a hand. Strange to see my life posted on the internet.
Donald Norris (Email) - 08/25/12 - 23:26

Thanks for the date correction, Donald.

The original article can be found via Google News, if you use the right combination of search words. Found it last night, but can’t find it now!
Legeros - 08/26/12 - 14:30

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