Two school buses hit by drivers within minutes of each other

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A Lewiston woman was charged with operating under the influence after her Ford Escape hit the back of a Regional School Unit 4 bus Monday in Sabattus. Sabattus Police Department photo

SABATTUS — Two Regional School Unit 4 buses were struck by vehicles within minutes of each other Monday on Bowdoinham Road, the first by a drunken driver and the second by a hit-and-run driver, police said.

A 12-year-old student complained of pain after the first crash and was examined by paramedics at the scene.

Superintendent Andrew Carlton said there were no reports of injuries in the second crash, which involved a driver in an oncoming vehicle veering over the centerline, swiping the side of the bus and taking out its side mirror. That vehicle kept on going.

“Scary for kids, scary for our drivers,” Carlton said Tuesday. “Unfortunately, the whole idea of impaired driving and distracted driving is really putting our kids that are on buses in danger. It’s a scary situation for everybody.”

There were 20 middle and high school students on the first bus, he said.

Sabattus Police Chief Sheila Wetherbee said in a news release that the first bus was traveling east on Bowdoinham Road and had stopped at the intersection with Beaver Road to let students off. The bus had its lights on and the “Stop” bar out when Jami Lee Driscoll, 29, struck the rear of the bus, disabling her 2001 Ford Escape.

Driscoll was arrested and charged with operating under the influence, according to police. She was taken to the Sabattus Police Department for further evaluation by a drug recognition expert from the Lewiston Police Department. It was subsequently confirmed Driscoll was under the influence of an unknown drug or drugs. She was issued a summons on a charge of operating under the influence and released.

After that crash, bus runs were rerouted and the students were eventually dispersed to several buses. One of those buses, carrying eight students – a mix of high school and middle school students from the first crash, and elementary school students – was involved in a hit-and-run.

An additional bus had to be rerouted to then get those eight students home.

“(I’m) 100 percent grateful that nobody was hurt,” Carlton said. “The other thing I’m grateful for is the quick thinking of our bus drivers – they did an amazing job.”

Carlton didn’t yet have an estimate of damages.

Maine State Police responded to the hit-and-run scene. https://www.pressherald.com/2019/09/24/two-school-buses-hit-by-drivers-in-sabattus-within-minutes-of-each-other/

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