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School bus driver suspended after bus crashes, overturns in Belmont

BELMONT, N.C. — A school bus driver has been suspended after troopers said she was driving too fast for conditions and flipped her bus early Tuesday morning in Belmont.

PHOTOS: School bus overturns in Gaston County

Officials told Channel 9 that the bus crashed and overturned on Lake Wylie Road, off South New Hope Road, in Belmont around 6:45 a.m.

State troopers were investigating the wreck and officials with Gaston County Schools said there were four students onboard, as well as the driver, and that none of them were hurt.

The bus was headed to New Hope Elementary School. Troopers said the bus driver went through a sharp curve while the road was still wet from rain. They said the bus dropped into the shoulder of the road, lost traction leaves and mud and the bus slid down into the ditch and overturned.

The students, between the ages of 8 and 10, had to exit the bus through the rear emergency exit.

Milagros Tejada Pena was charged with careless driving. School officials said Pena has been suspended without pay.

Investigators said the bus was going the speed limit, which is 35 mph, but that it was too fast for the slippery conditions.

Parents at the school told Channel 9 that the crash was a reminder to others to drive with caution.

"It's very scary," said Christy Watson. "I mean, accidents unfortunately, they do happen. Luckily there weren't a lot of kids on the school bus. It certainly could have been a lot worse."

Channel 9 learned the bus involved in the crash is out of service. Another driver has been assigned to the route.

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