Driver Admits Looking at Phone When She Crashed into Bus Offloading Kids

Some of the children were shaken up but only the woman driving the SUV was injured after she rear-ended a school bus that was stopped to let children off Friday afternoon.

Judith Smith, of Hope, told responders that she was looking down at her phone to see who was calling her when she crashed her Ford Escape into the stopped school bus at around 4:00 p.m. There were no visible skid marks from Smith’s SUV leading up to the crash.

Terrance Turner, the bus driver, had the bus at a complete stop at the intersection of Highway 67 east and Harris Drive while children were getting off at their stop when Smith crashed into the back of the bus. Turner told law enforcement that he was watching the SUV come up behind the bus and the driver never slowed down.

Maurice Henry, HPS Transportation Director, said there were still eight or nine kids on the bus, in addition to the ones who were offloading at the time of the crash. Parents of the children who weren’t yet to their stop were contacted to come pick up their children.

Members of the Perrytown Fire Department and a member of the Nevada County Ambulance Service who were across the street at Dave Tuttle’s Auto Repair rushed out to the crash when they heard it and checked on the children and Smith until the crew from Pafford EMS arrived on scene and took over care. Other firefighters from Perrytown who were in the area or had children on the bus also responded and assisted Trooper Chris Bussey with traffic control while he conducted his investigation.

All of the children were checked out and were physically ok, though some were scared and in tears.

Smith was transported by Pafford to Wadley Regional Medical Center in Hope. Any potential citations could not be issued at the scene.

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