Skyline High School bus crash: 'It was terrifying'
Photo courtesy of Christina Lovell
With that resolved, Lovell headed to work. His daughter Christina, and her sister, Natalie, 15, got on the bus for Ann Arbor’s Skyline High School. When Lovell was still about five minutes away from work, he got a text message. It was Christina, sending him a picture of their overturned school bus and this message, “Great idea making us take the bus.”
Lovell immediately got on the phone, asking what happened and whether his daughters were all right.
Fortunately, they were. But in the harrowing moment when the bus Christina and her sister were riding spun on the ice and overturned, Christina was terrified.
Christina, who was riding the bus for only the second time this school year, said it was obvious roads were icy before the bus started down the hill on an unpaved section of Maple Road south of Stein Road. She was texting a friend when the bus started sliding and then began spinning.
“It was turning really fast and everyone started screaming,” Christina said. “It spun and then it started falling over and it was terrifying.”
As the bus turned over, students on the right side of the bus, including her sister, fell into or against the seats on the other side, Christina said. Students on the left side of the bus, including Christina, ended up sprawled on the side of the bus or part of the roof.
After the bus came to rest on its left side, students sat in stunned silence for a minute, Christina said, then started making sure they were all OK. The driver also checked on their well-being and started arranging for alternate transportation, Christina said.
After about 10 or 15 minutes, another student and her dad, who happened to be driving by, stopped and opened the rear emergency exit so the students could get out. Sheriff’s deputies came, and the students were eventually taken in sheriff’s vehicles to another bus and continued on their way to school.
After the ordeal was over, students were very relieved. “We were all just really, really glad everyone was OK, because it could have been so much worse.”
Christina was feeling a little sore Tuesday but was otherwise OK, she said. Natalie was suffering from some back and shoulder pain, but also was mostly OK, her sister said.
The district originally said no one was injured, but a few students went to urgent care facilities later in the day Monday suffering from headaches. School officials said only 8 students were on the bus, which had two more stops to make before arriving at Skyline.
As for David Lovell, he’s just glad no one was more seriously hurt.
“Obviously it could have been so much worse and we’re so grateful that it wasn’t.”
Also, he doesn’t fault the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, which provides bus transportation for Ann Arbor Public Schools, for running regular bus routes Monday. “That’s always a tough call,” he said.
How about the decision to make his daughters take the bus?
“I think it was the right decision.” Conditions Monday were too bad for a relatively inexperienced driver, he said.
“In hindsight, I would have taken them to school.”