Spring Storms Spell Trouble For School Buses

Tuesday, April 8th 2008, 5:10 pm
By: News On 6

Spring storms caused some traffic troubles on Tuesday.  Monday night's downpours submerged streets.  Underwater intersections trapped cars, forcing drivers to push their vehicles to safety.  It takes only seconds for a few inches of fast moving water to put drivers in jeopardy.  That danger is compounded when the driver is at the wheel of a school bus.  The News On 6's Chris Wright reports not one, but two Bixby buses full of children had trouble with the high water.

As many as 60 kids were on the buses.  None of them were hurt, but the district admits that the drivers made some poor decisions.

For almost 10 hours on Tuesday, one school bus stayed stuck in a ditch.  Authorities say that shortly after 7 in the morning, after picking up as many as 40 Bixby middle and high schoolers, the bus veered into high water.  School officials say the driver was filling in, unfamiliar with the route, and made a bad call.

"The best thing to do would have been to stop and radio for assistance at that point.  He thought he was in an area he could get through, and it didn't work out that way," said Gabe Hayes with Bixby Public Schools.

The police were called, and the kids were taken off of the bus.  Some got a little wet, but none were hurt.  Hours after the accident, as a tow truck did its best to dislodge the bus from the ditch, neighbors were still appalled, but not shocked.

Those who live around area say this neighborhood is prone to flooding, and if you don't know you're way around, well, that's what happens.

"I'm assuming the bus driver didn't know how to exit the neighborhoods because he's not familiar with the roads when it floods like all of us in the neighborhood are," said Roya Shaull of Bixby.

"It's common sense.  You don't put the kids on the bus if you can't get through the city, can't get through the roads," said Bixby's Steve Corbett.

Common sense the district says it will remind its drivers to use the next time severe weather moves into the area.

"Our main goal everyday is to get the kids to and from school safely. That's what we strive for.  Sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate," said Gabe Hayes with Bixby Public Schools.

This incident happened just one week after two Peggs school buses were photographed driving through high water during flash flooding.

The second Bixby bus, with 20 children on board, got stuck in the mud near 161st Street and Memorial.

Bixby is investigating the accidents, and says the drivers could face disciplinary action.

Find more stories on NewsOn6.com's Local News page.