10 Children Injured as Van Crashes At Bus Stop

"It was a bloody scene," said Van Lingoua, an eighth-grader at White Oak Middle School, of the crash site. (By Bill O'leary -- The Washington Post)

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By Ernesto Londoño and Lori Aratani
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, September 2, 2006

As commuters whisked by on rain-slicked Piney Branch Road, a group of Silver Spring middle school students at their bus stop stood horrified when a white van traveling west struck a fire hydrant and careened toward them.

"Everyone started screaming: 'Watch out, that car is coming!' " said Van Lingoua, one of the students injured in the crash, who was standing next to about a dozen schoolmates who also live at the Forest Park Apartments in Silver Spring.

Ten children were taken to hospitals; at least two were injured critically. Police said none of the injuries was life-threatening, but six of the children remained hospitalized last night.

Van, 12, an eighth-grader at White Oak Middle School, said he and his schoolmates had been talking about whether the rain was going to ruin their weekend as they waited for the bus, which typically picks them up at 7:10 a.m. in the 9300 block of Piney Branch Road.

As the van headed toward them, he and others tried to jump out of its path. Most moved too late.

"It was a bloody scene," Van said yesterday, speaking calmly after being discharged from the hospital with a bandage over his scraped elbow. "Most of the kids were just lying on the street screaming for help."

The driver of the van stepped out of the vehicle, apparently unharmed, and wobbled around, Van said.

Some of the uninjured children ran home for help. Several commuters stopped and offered to call 911 and made their cellphones available to the children.

Paramedics from Montgomery and Prince George's counties responded within minutes and called for backup as the scope of the crash became clear.

"Every time an ambulance arrived, someone said they needed two more," Van said.

At least one student was airlifted to a hospital.

Some parents made it to the bus stop within minutes, but others who had left home before their children did learned about the accident at work.


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