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Nine injured as school bus overturns in Grand Prairie

Nine Larson Elementary School students were taken to area hospitals Monday when the bus they were in overturned after being struck by a sport utility vehicle at Burney Road and the Texas 360 frontage road.

None of the injuries is believed to be life-threatening.

The bus was southbound on the service road that's parallel to Texas 360, when an eastbound 2006 Toyota Sequoia apparently ran the red light at Burney Road and struck the bus, causing it to spin and turn over on its side, police said.

The bus came to rest about 3:30 p.m. in some high weeds and brush with 27 Larson Elementary School students, ages 6 through 12, still inside with a teacher and the bus driver.

"Out of my periphery, I could see her coming, but there was nothing that I could do," said bus driver Norma Jones, who has worked with the Arlington school district for more than a decade. "I just tried to keep the bus on its wheels. But obviously that didn't work."

After the bus came to rest, Jones, 44, and teacher Kay Davis, 53, who rides to assist Jones, helped students get off the vehicle. About 20 people rushed to the bus to help, then disappeared without waiting for any thank yous, Davis said.

"Everybody was upside down," Davis said. "The glass started breaking, and tree branches were poking into the bus. It was horrible. One child landed on me, and I think I landed on the child to my left."

Davis said she kicked open the hatch on the roof of the bus and started lifting children up through the emergency exit. Good Samaritans who saw the accident helped lift children out and went into the bus to retrieve children and check on the driver, Davis said.

Children were carried to an area set up across the street from the bus where paramedics could check them for injuries. Some uninjured children were released to parents who arrived after hearing about the crash, while other children were placed on another bus that took them home, said Veronica Sopher, Arlington school district spokeswoman.

Estella Flores, a parent of two children on the bus, said a neighbor told her about the accident. Neither of her children were hurt, she said.

"When I first heard what happened I was scared to death," Flores said. "But I was very relieved when I got here and they were OK."

One of Flores' children, 8-year-old Jason Alejo, said two men helped him off the bus.

"Everybody was flying around," Jason said. "Everybody was calling for their mom and dad."

The driver of the SUV, Christine Fielder, 37, of Arlington, and her three children, ages 4, 7, and 11, were not injured. Fielder will be cited for running a red light, according to a statement from Eric Hansen, Grand Prairie police spokesman.