A 17-year-old boy was killed and a Harford County school bus driver was injured in a head-on collision on a winding country road near Aberdeen yesterday afternoon.
Eight children from Aberdeen Middle School were in the bus at the time of the crash. Four pupils were taken by ambulance to Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace. Their injuries were not life-threatening, said Lt. Edward Hopkins, spokesman for the Harford County sheriff's office. The other children were released to relatives.
Justin Wayne Shelton, 17, of the 1100 block of Carsins Run Road in Aberdeen, was driving a white Plymouth Voyager minivan north in the 900 block of Stepney Road about 3 p.m. when he crossed the center line and entered the path of the southbound school bus, Hopkins said.
The Edgewood High School teen-ager, the only occupant in the van - which had a "My Child Is An Honor Roll Student at Aberdeen Middle School" sticker on the back window - was killed instantly, Hopkins said.
The bus driver, Teresa Henderson, 32, was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was listed in serious condition last night. Her address was not immediately available.
Shelton's body was taken to the state medical examiner's office, where an autopsy was to be performed today.
Hopkins said that tire marks on the road indicate that the bus driver applied the brakes before being hit by the van. The bus will be examined by Maryland State Police.
"It appears [the bus driver] did everything she could do to stop," said Harford County Schools Superintendent Jacqueline Haas.
Haas said the vehicle was not among the buses cited earlier this month in Maryland for faulty brakes, the result of a defect in an anti-lock brake mechanism.
The bus' front bumper lay on the road near the smashed front of the minivan. The windshield on the driver's side of the bus was shattered.
Ronald Stunkard, head chaplain with the Volunteer Fire and Emergency Medical Service of Harford County, said several children from the bus were crying when he arrived, although none appeared to be hurt seriously.
"I came out here to see if any family members were here and to check on the bus driver and children," he said. "We also try to be here with the firemen."
Before a tow truck arrived to remove the bus, a sheriff's deputy pulled colorful backpacks from the back of the vehicle and placed them carefully on the road. He said he planned to return them to the pupils. Curious neighborhood children also gathered.
Robert Champ, a tenth-grader at Harford Technical High School who has lived in the area for 12 years, said, "It is a road known for speeding."