Teenager hits school bus, four hospitalized

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News 12 at 11, September 13, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Three children and their school bus driver went to the hospital after an accident this afternoon.

21 children from Dorothy Haines Elementary were on the bus when it was hit from behind by a teenager.

A tearful nine-year-old boards an ambulance on her way to the emergency room. Moments after her school bus was hit by a teenager.

Her mom, Stephanie Burton, was close by little Jessie's side. "She just says it hurts really bad. It joggled her pretty good so I'm not sure what the outcome is going to be."

Two more students and the bus driver were all hospitalized. 18 other children also on board, shaken up and stranded.

Like seven-year old Justin Soderberg. "I cried," he said. "Because I was scared."

Countless other parents also scared. Most rushed to the scene, ready to show ids to claim their precious cargo.

Others, like dad Gary Soderberg took matters into their own hands. "I really started to panic because i didn't know what the situation was. I didn't know if it was their bus but chances were pretty good it was."

The accident happened just a few blocks from Gary's home. Deputies say the bus stopped on Old Savannah Road to let a child off. But before she could get off the bus, it was hit from behind by a driver who was following too closely.

"Watch out! The school bus is big, it's yellow, it's got all these lights flashing. It's kind of hard to miss if they just pay attention," said Michael Shine with the Department of Transportation.

It's advice Gary wants all drivers to hear. "All drivers approaching any bus should take precaution and stay their distance away from school buses because the only people on those buses are our children."

Deputies say 19-year-old Jessica Hammond was driving the black Chevy Malibu that hit the back of the bus. She was not injured in the accident, and deputies say she will be charged with following too closely.

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