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School bus rolls injuring students on way to track meet

A bus carrying Carey Junior High school students headed to a track meet rolled Tuesday afternoon.
A bus carrying Carey Junior High school students headed to a track meet rolled Tuesday afternoon.(KMVT)
Published: Apr. 18, 2017 at 1:34 PM MDT
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10:13 P.M. UPDATE:

Idaho State Police has identified the driver of the school bus as Richard Mecham, 67, of Carey.

Mecham was driving westbound on US Highway 26, in a 2011 school bus transporting 40 students with adult chaperones. Mecham drove off the right shoulder, over corrected, and rolled the vehicle.

Mecham sustained no injuries. The chaperones were treated and released at the scene. 12 of the 39 students were transported to nearby hospitals, 7 by ground ambulance, and 5 by air ambulance.

Both lanes of travel are now open.

The investigation is ongoing.

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After a Blaine County School District bus rolled off Highway 26 carrying 40 Carey School students, the district put its emergency procedure in place.

"This afternoon we've been making sure all of our students and staff who were on the bus are being taken care of and receiving the medical treatment that they need and were all accounted for and safe and sound and getting them reunited with parents," said school superintendent Dr. GwenCarol Holmes.

Holmes says it wasn't that long ago that Carey practiced a scenario similar to the one today as part of their emergency preparedness.

"We have emergency procedures in place and we practice them regularly. In fact it wasn't that long ago that Carey school actually practiced a student and parent reunification, and that kicked in today. We knew exactly what to do."

But Holmes and district officials know the incident isn't isolated to just one day.

"Tomorrow [Wednesday] we will work with the students and the staff here at Carey School because there's going to be some trauma from the event. We'll make sure that they're able to handle that and have the help that they need in the rough times. And then we'll also debrief on what happened today and how we can respond better if need be in the future."

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Tire marks on the side and skid marks crossing U.S. Highway 26 were what's left on the road after a Blaine County School District bus rolled over to the south side of the highway.

Shortly after noon, authorities received a call of the accident near the Dietrich cutoff.

Officials said 39 Carey Junior High students and three adults were on the bus at the time of the crash. They were heading westbound for a track meet.

"They call this a mass casualty incident. There's a lot of injuries," said Lincoln County Sheriff Rene Rodriguez.

At least five junior students were taken by air to St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries Tuesday afternoon.

Officials with the Blaine County School District said those with injuries were being treated by Lincoln County emergency responders or transported to a hospital.

By about 2:13 p.m., 14 student had been released, 12 were waiting assessment by emergency personnel, five students were transported by air and five by ambulance to area hospitals.

A few parents rushed to the scene to check on their child. As for the rest, another bus arrived at the site of the crash to transport them back to the school to be picked up.

Principal John Peck was at the scene, but declined to comment.

The exact cause of the crash remains under investigation by Idaho State Police.

ISP said the accident blocked both east and westbound lanes of the highway. One lane was opened shortly after 2 p.m.

KMVT will publish more information when it becomes available.

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