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Firefighters, paramedics helped comfort children after school bus overturned in Rockingham County

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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. -- After a school bus overturned Tuesday afternoon, Stokesdale fire crews and paramedics worked to keep students calm until their teachers and parents arrived.

Crews arrived at the wreck on N.C. 68 near Sylvania Road to find students already out of the bus, but upset and nervous.

“We all just did what we knew we had to do,” Deputy Chief Randy Suthard said.

Crew members talked to the children, trying to make sure they were OK.

“Those younger children, they don’t know what to tell you hurts and doesn’t hurt, they’re scared. So if we can keep them calm, chances are we can figure out which ones need care the worst, or first,” Suthard said.

Troopers say the privately-owned bus was carrying 18 students and two adults from Huntsville Elementary School to an afterschool program when a pickup truck collided with the bus.

The bus went off the road on the lefthand side, hit a sign, rolled down a bank and overturned.

All students, as well as the driver of the pickup, an adult who was also in the truck and the bus driver, were taken to Moses Cone Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Troopers say the bus did have seat belts. A spokesperson for First Student said that the company has policies and procedures in place to make sure students wear them.

“We’re glad everyone is safe, and at the particular time, it’s an ongoing investigation. We’re partnering with local authorities on the matter,” the spokesperson said.

Suthard credited the department’s training for their response.

“That includes being a good role model for the kids of how to be calm and relaxed, and realizing this is scary for you, but we’re OK,” he said.

No charges have been filed at this time.

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