VCSC bus driver released from hospital after accident

May 14—A Vigo County School Corp. bus driver hospitalized after an accident on Monday has been released.

The driver was admitted overnight to Union Hospital, but he has since been released, the school district said Tuesday.

The school corporation was not a liberty to say more about the driver's medical condition because the individual's privacy and federal law — the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act — prohibits such disclosure, district communications officer Katie Shane said in an email.

The bus with students inside crashed Monday afternoon, and power lines then fell on the bus. The accident occurred on Bennett Lane near West Terre Haute when the driver suffered a medical problem and became unconscious at the wheel.

There were a total of 10 students on board, a combination of high school and middle school students.

Initially, the power lines were thought to be live, but later Duke Energy determined that none were. The students did not exit the vehicle until it was determined the lines were safe, the school corporation said.

The bus driver regained consciousness and was taken to Union Hospital for treatment. Sugar Creek Fire Department reported that four students also were taken to Union for minor injuries or to be checked by doctors.

The other six students were released to their parents after being cleared by Transcare medics at scene.

VCSC Transportation Director PJ Pitts and Chief Operating Officer John Newpoert went to the hospital to see students, the driver and students' families, Shane wrote Wednesday.

The district also contacted each of the students who were released to their parents and spoke to their families.

"We have not heard anything negative — and most of the families/students we spoke to last night, their first question was about the bus driver and how he was doing. This community really cares for him," Shane wrote.

The majority of the students did attend school Tuesday.

The bus was left on the scene Tuesday so Duke Energy could remove the remaining power lines from the area and for Indiana State Police to inspect the bus.

VCSC also has asked the bus manufacturer to inspect the bus, which may provide additional information, Shane wrote. Both the ISP and manufacturer inspections are fairly common in such situations, she added.

Kurt Brinegar, coordinator of safety and security said everyone involved Tuesday handled the situation well.

"In this situation, the first responders and Duke Energy were quick to respond — we're talking within minutes," Brinegar said. "Everyone knew their job and what needed to be done.

"The parents of the students were exceptionally great," he said. "They knew what we had to do and they respected that, even though their child was potentially injured and they couldn't see them.

"In those situations sometimes people can be irrational, but the West Vigo parents were not; they were calm and they communicated with the command staff," Brinegar said.