Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bus Driver Is Credited with Saving Young Lives Still, 19 from Area Are Hurt in Crash in Wales

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bus Driver Is Credited with Saving Young Lives Still, 19 from Area Are Hurt in Crash in Wales

Article excerpt

A two-bus accident in northern Wales that injured 19 St. Louis-area children could have been worse had one of the drivers not shouted to his passengers to brace themselves because his brakes weren't working, the mother of a victim said Tuesday.

Janice Simmons of St. Peters said her daughter, Stephanie, was among the 75 people on the buses. The girl is an eighth-grader at Fort Zumwalt South Middle School.

All the passengers were injured in the accident, most not seriously.

Simmons said Stephanie, 13, had suffered a deep cut on her hairline. The North Wales Police Department said Stephanie was the only one of the group kept overnight for observation in a Welsh hospital.

The accident occurred just before 2 p.m. Tuesday (8 a.m. St. Louis time) on a steep, rain-slicked hill in the center of Bangor, Wales, a city on the Irish Sea about 200 miles northwest of London.

Witnesses said two People to People International tour buses had been traveling together on St. Mary's Hill in Bangor, according to police. One bus apparently went out of control and slammed into the other bus.

Simmons said her daughter and one of the adult leaders told her by telephone that the driver had shouted out a warning moments before the collision. The children then ducked their heads.

Besides the 19 St. Louis-area children, two adult leaders from the St. Louis area were injured, authorities said. The remaining children and leaders were from elsewhere in the United States.

The children were part of a trip to England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales sponsored by People to People International, a cultural exchange program with U.S. headquarters in Spokane, Wash.

The students spent Tuesday night in Bangor University dormitories. Hours after learning of the accident around noon, Janice Simmons got the call she had been waiting for.

"She was a little hyper," Janice Simmons said later of her daughter. "I think the adrenaline was still going.

"She said she wanted to continue the trip, and I told her it was OK with me."

Rosalie Belue of the Normandy area said her son Paul, 13, a student at Normandy Middle School, had suffered an apparent broken nose. …

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