Two adults and an elementary school student were hospitalized with critical injuries after a commercial truck crossed the center line of a New York highway and collided with a school bus.

The crash occurred Wednesday, Oct. 21, about 8:21 a.m. as the school bus was traveling east on Route 207 in the Hudson Valley town of New Windsor, about 60 miles north of New York City.

According to the Daily Voice, New Windsor Deputy Police Chief Michael Farbent said a commercial truck operated by a tree service company was traveling westbound on Rt. 207 and crossed over the double-yellow line into the path of the school bus.

Emergency responders had to extricate the bus driver, 74-year-old Andrew Sanchez, the truck driver, 25-year-old Ian Jennings, and a 6-year-old elementary school girl from the wreckage. All three were taken to the hospital in critical condition. They have since been upgraded to stable condition.

Mr. Sanchez was listed in stable condition in the intensive care unit of St. Luke’s Hospital in Newburgh, New York. Mr. Jennings was in stable condition at Garnet Health in Middletown, New York.

The child who was critically injured suffered a deep laceration to the leg and broken bones, the Times Herald-Record reported. She is a student at Little Britain Elementary School, part of the Washingtonville School District. According to CBS News New York, the child was seated directly behind the bus driver when the crash occurred. She has since been released from the hospital and is recovering at home.

Seven other elementary school students suffered minor injuries but were able to walk off the bus. They were taken to a nearby hospital where they were evaluated by doctors. All of those students were treated and released.

Police haven’t determined why the driver of the truck, which belongs to Flannagan’s Tree Service, crossed the center line. The crash remains under investigation. According to CBS News New York, State Police are looking into whether speed, weather conditions, and mechanical failure may have contributed to the crash.

A spokesperson for the school district told the Times-Herald-Record that all of the school buses are equipped with seat belts, though it was unclear whether students were using them. She said that students are instructed and re-instructed every year about how to use the seatbelts and the importance of buckling up.

Truck accident litigation

Truck accidents are complicated scenes often involving a number of factors. When investigating a claim related to an 18-wheeler or other heavy truck accident, it is imperative to have knowledge of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, technology, business practices, insurance coverages, and to have the ability to discover written and electronic records. Expert testimony is of utmost importance. Accidents involving semi-trucks and passenger vehicles often result in serious injuries and wrongful death. Trucking companies and their insurance companies almost always quickly send accident investigators to the scene of a truck accident to begin working to limit their liability in these situations. Our lawyers, staff and in-house accident investigators immediately begin the important task of documenting and preserving the evidence. Truck accident lawyers in Beasley Allen’s Montgomery and Atlanta offices have experience in handling these types of claims. For more information, contact Chris Glover, Mike Crow, Donovan Potter or Parker Miller. They would be happy to provide more information or work with you on a claim.

School bus safety and litigation

School bus crashes that lead to the injury and/or death of student passengers often re-ignite calls for seat belt requirements at the federal level. Currently, federal transportation safety laws require the driver only to have a seat belt and leave it to the states whether to mandate seatbelts for students. “The safety of children riding as passengers on school buses must be a top priority for those who are in charge of our schools and for those who own and operate school buses,” said Beasley Allen lawyer Kendall Dunson, who represented the family of a Huntsville, Alabama, high school student who was killed when her school bus plunged 30 feet from a highway overpass in November 2006.

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