Students describe Burke County school bus crash

by: Eric Philips Updated:

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BURKE COUNTY, N.C. - Everyone brought to the hospital this morning following a school bus accident in Burke County has been released.

Troopers said Bus No. 61 was heading north on Frank Whisnant Road when the bus dropped off the right shoulder of the road, which was wet, and overturned.

The incident was a one-vehicle accident.

Students described the incident.

"All of a sudden, the lights flashed off, the bus flipped over and I said, 'What the heck's happening,' and everybody started panicking," said Jabari Corpening, a fifth-grader on the bus.

The bus was on its way to Oak Hill Elementary School.

Eight of the nine children on board were transported to the hospital including Corpening, whose mother heard the accident on her scanner.

"I was crying," said Naikita Corpening, mother of Jabari Corpening. "I was freaking out and I was just like, let my son be OK."

"I am a little scared about getting back on the bus," her child said.

Doctors said he was OK and so was second-grader Josiah McElrath who had a bruise on his head. Third-grader Hayden Smith was also on the bus and complained of head and neck pain.

"It was pretty scary and intense," Smith said. "I looked out the window and all I (saw was) ground."

Some parents said they do not blame the bus driver, Sherry Pratt, because they said accidents happen but the incident is another reason why school buses should have seat belts.

Troopers charged Pratt with a lane-control violation and said she allowed the bus to drift off the road.

Road conditions were foggy and wet at the time of the crash, investigators said.