One Carroll County Public Schools bus collided with another on Wednesday, injuring three students, the morning after several inches of snow fell throughout the county. Unexpected snow squalls delayed other buses despite schools opening two hours late.
Carroll County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 5200 block of Braddock Road in Woodbine for a collision at about 9:06 a.m., according a news release. Bus 199 stopped to pick up a student and was rear-ended by Bus 399 at 8:53 a.m., according to CCPS spokesperson Carey Gaddis. Three students suffered minor injuries, but only one, a 16-year-old boy, was taken to Carroll Hospital for treatment, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The crash caused the front bus to move forward and hit a pedestrian student, who was not injured, the release reads. About 45 students were on the buses heading to South Carroll High School when the crash occurred and one bus was towed, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Emergency responders came from Winfield, Sykesville, and Howard County to assist, the release states.
Anthony Capezzuto, a junior at South Carroll High, told the Times he was riding Bus 399 as it traveled down a hill on Braddock Road when he heard another student shout.
“I heard a kid yell, ‘Slow down,' " Capezzuto said. “I hit my head on the seat in front of me.”
Capezzuto suffered an abrasion to his forehead, but didn’t realize it at first. After the impact, he said, he turned around to check on the other students and saw one person with a bloody nose. He said the students filed out the back of the bus and the driver called for an ambulance. Some parents arrived to pick up their children.
Medics had to cut off some loose skin on his forehead, then cleaned and bandaged his wound, according to Capezzuto.
He “definitely” felt that the snowy conditions contributed to the crash.
“It was kind of scary. I tried to keep calm,” Capezzuto said. “It was just a freak accident.”
After being released from Carroll Hospital, Capezzuto took the rest of the day off school.
Gaddis said the buses were not driveable after the crash and spare buses were sent to take the remaining students to school. The driver of Bus 399 will be tested for controlled substances, which is standard practice, she said.
A school board transportation representative and assistant principals from South Carroll High responded to the scene, then notified parents, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Arrangements were made to pick up students at the scene and another bus transported the rest of the students to school, the release reads.
The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the cause of the collision, but the release noted slippery road conditions might have contributed to the crash. No citations were issued, according to the release. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Deputy First Class Gibbons at 410-386-5900.
A leak in a water line on Hersh Avenue in Westminster led Saint John Catholic School to lose water, the city announced. The school closed early, at 1 p.m., the school posted on Facebook.
A contractor in the area using a mini-excavator accidentally struck a pipe they did not know was there, causing the leak, and notified the city, according to Cory Stouffer, assistant superintendent of utility maintenance for Westminster.
Repairs to the water line, which affected the area of Hersh, Schaffer, Wimert and Ward avenues, were complete by about 2:30 p.m., Stouffer said. Crews arrived to the area around noon and fixed the leak by using a clamp on the water main, then installed a new pipe and connection to the water main, according to Stouffer.
The aftermath of a snowstorm that dumped nearly five inches on parts of the county caused Carroll schools to open two hours late on Wednesday. But more unforeseen inclement weather made it even later for some.
“Due to an unanticipated snow squall in some parts of the county, some buses may be delayed in picking up students this morning,” CCPS said in a message posted on its website and delivered to parents via automated phone call.
Gaddis said all buses, besides those involved in the collision, made their stops, though some were “severely” late. The snow squalls were a surprise to the school system, she said.
The school system elaborated via phone and email that parents should show discretion in whether they choose to send their children to school and that all weather-related absences would be excused.
Gaddis said Wednesday afternoon that the school system saw 37% absenteeism for the day, whereas the average rate is 5% or less.
Staff unable to make the journey to school for work could take leave, according to Gaddis.
Carroll schools dismissed two hours early on Tuesday. According to the National Weather Service, Manchester was hit with 4.4 inches and most of Carroll received at least a few inches, all of which was in line with forecasts for the day.
Carroll Community College and McDaniel College both opened late Wednesday morning, at 10 a.m.
A snow squall is often associated with strong cold fronts and can move in and out quickly, typically lasting less than an hour, according to the National Weather Service.
Sudden white-out conditions combined with falling temperatures can produce icy roads in just minutes. Although snow accumulations are typically an inch or less, the combination of gusty winds, falling temperatures and quick reductions in visibility can cause extremely dangerous conditions for motorists, the weather service website states.
Experts warned of poor visibility around 8:30 a.m. caused by heavy and blowing snow, with wind gusts that were forecast to reach 30 mph. The warning lasted until 9 a.m.