Crews rescue trapped dump truck driver an hour after crash with school bus

CHARLOTTE — It took first responders an hour to rescue a dump truck driver after a crash involving a school bus Wednesday morning in south Charlotte, authorities said.

At around 6:30 a.m., police responded to Sharon Road West at Sharonbrook Drive for a crash that left 17 people hurt, including 15 students on board a Charlotte-Mecklenburg School bus. All students are expected to be OK.

It took firefighters 30 minutes to rescue the bus driver who was trapped inside, and an hour to save the dump truck driver.

For 60 minutes, fire crews surrounded the truck from all sides, including the top, as they worked to free the driver. A Channel 9 crew at the scene said it was difficult to see from their vantage point, but got a few glimpses of the driver and say he was conscious.

Charlotte Fire said all the mangled metal and debris presented real challenges for them.

“We encountered some problems just in the sheer nature of the force and the amount of metal that was around the driver,” said CFD Battalion Chief Michael Gerin.

Firefighters used a hydraulic extrication rescue tool, sometimes known as the jaws of life, to free the driver. MEDIC took him to the hospital with serious injuries, but officials said it could have been worse.

“You have to work methodically in the fact that when you remove the car, you don’t want to cause any more damage to the patient or anybody else,” Gerin said.

Kustura could see broken glass and the front of the bus nearly gone, just barely missing a light pole.

Charlotte Fire said they train for years to respond to something like this. They hope it doesn’t happen, but when it does, they’re ready to go.

“We used all those tools and got both drivers out successfully. We’re very proud of that effort,” Gerin said.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said it didn’t expect any charges in the crash, as it seemed to be an accident.

(WATCH BELOW: 17 hurt in crash involving school bus, dump truck; 15 students expected to be OK, MEDIC says)