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Molalla superintendent voices concern over school bus crash


Mann said a little girl acted bravely while trapped in the bus entangled in a live power line.

by: CLACKAMAS COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE - Molalla school bus involved in Monday's accident after being freed of power line After a Molalla school bus pulled down a live power line Monday afternoon at the intersection of South Vaughan Road and Highway 211, Molalla Superintendent Tony Mann voiced strong concern over First Student practices.

First Student, Inc. provides bus service to the district. This is the fourth time in two years a First Student school bus carrying Molalla River School District students has been involved in a traffic accident.

Mann said First Student officials told him the driver has been suspended pending a full investigation, and that he has voiced his concerns over the incident.

“Last year we commissioned an independent review of their practices and procedures and at the school district we communicated our clear expectations to First Student,” Mann said Wednesday. “I have been concerned and continue to be concerned. I expect our children in our community to be transported home safely. I have not had an opportunity for a full debriefing of this most recent situation from First Student, although I’m aware of facts surrounding the situation. We have high expectations of First Student as a contract service and I’d like to see significant improvement moving forward.”

The accident took place at about 4 p.m. Monday, causing a traffic tie-up and leaving local residents with no electricity.

An investigation is still underway.

Mann said only one student was in the bus, which was nearing the end of its route when the accident occurred. No injuries were reported.

“After my discussions with First Student, I am aware the driver was not cited by police, and I am grateful nobody was injured, either the driver or the little girl in the bus,” Mann said. “I spoke with the little girl’s mother yesterday. A child in that situation needs to be pretty brave and I understand the little girl was very brave and she did everything she was told.”

Molalla Fire Chief Vince Stafford said it appeared that the bus driver was turning the corner from Highway 211 onto Vaughan Road when the side mirror caught a guy wire attached to a power pole.

“The bus then pulled down the pole, laying the live power lines over the bus,” Stafford said. “The driver and the student stayed inside the bus until a PGE crew could come to disconnect the power. People should always remain inside the vehicle if a live line is touching the vehicle.”

According to Portland General Electric, power was temporarily cut for 21 customers in the area, and Clackamas County sheriff's deputies shut down Vaughan Road in both directions for at least an hour while PGE crews made repairs.

Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office is working to determine what led to the crash. Deputies said alcohol was not a factor.