School Bus Overturns On Route 81
Two students, a driver and transportation aide escaped injury after the school bus in which they were riding overturned on Interstate 81 Monday afternoon.
The small-capacity bus was from the South Jefferson Central School District, according to Superintendent Jamie Moesel.
She said the bus was transporting students from class at Indian River Central School District at the time of the accident.
There were initial reports of minor injuries, however Moesel said there were no injuries. She said there were two students, a driver and bus transportation aide inside the vehicle.
The accident happened at approximately 4 p.m. in the southbound lane of Route 81 in the town of Watertown.
According to state police, a car driven by 29 year old David Podkowka of Clayton struck the rear of the bus.
Witnesses to the collision reported to troopers that Podkowka was traveling at a high rate of speed just prior to the crash.
The collision propelled the bus off the right side of the roadway, police said.
According to police, the bus spun around facing a northerly direction and overturned onto the driver’s side.
Podkowka’s vehicle sustained heavy passenger front side damage.
Two students on the bus, a boy and a girl both under twelve years of age ,were transported to Samaritan Medical Center.
According to police, the boy was treated for a minor abrasion to his leg and was released to his parents at the hospital.
The girl had no medical complaints at the hospital and was released to her grandmother without seeking further medical attention, police said.
Officials said the bus driver, 68 year old Norman Roof of Copenhagen, was transported to a Watertown area urgent care center for a precautionary medical examination.
Transportation aide Brittiny Hagelin, age 23 of Henderson, was taken to SMC with hip and lower back pain, police said.
Troopers said Podkowka was treated at the scene by medical personnel for an abrasion to his leg and declined any further medical attention.
Police ticketed Podkowka for Imprudent Speed, Following Too Closely and Moving from Lane Unsafely.
He is scheduled to appear in Watertown Town Court at a later date.
The investigation found no fault on the part of the school bus driver,
State police credited Roof with maintaining control of the bus after the collision to the best of his ability, possibly minimizing the potential injuries.
Police said Roof and Hagelin further assisted the students out of the bus in a calm and orderly fashion.