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Northern Illinois school bus accident remains under investigation

Many parents in Illinois were nervous putting their children on school buses this week in the wake of last Friday's serious school bus accident in northern Illinois. As many people are aware, all 35 people aboard the school bus did survive the accident, but the driver of a Jeep Wrangler that collided with the bus passed away due to traumatic injuries. Dozens of children were sent to hospitals with various injuries after the collision, and a married couple in a third vehicle was also injured.

The accident took place at about 8 a.m. in Wadsworth, which is north of Chicago. Initially, authorities reported that the bus driver seemed to have run a red light, but later they said the fault was not yet clear. Witnesses reportedly gave conflicting accounts and the accident still remains under investigation.

Toxicology tests have been conducted on both the driver of the school bus and the now deceased driver of the Jeep Wrangler, and those results have not been released.

In the accident, the bus reportedly crashed into the Jeep Wrangler in the intersection, and spun around and hit a second vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, before rolling onto its side.

According to a news report published the day of the crash, 30 children were sent to hospitals the day of the accident and 29 were released by late that afternoon. An 11-year-old sustained a skull fracture and she was transferred to a hospital in Chicago in fair condition.

It will be important that investigators get to the bottom of this accident. Bus accidents can be particularly complicated to investigate because they involve many layers of responsibility--the bus driver, the school district, the bus company, the vehicle maker, etc.

In any accident, it is always important to determine the cause so that responsible parties can be held accountable; victims can pursue legal action should they so choose; and information can be gathered about preventing similar accidents in the future.

Source: The Edwardsville Intelligencer, "1 dead, kids OK in N. Illinois school bus crash," April 5, 2013

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