Car rams 8 children at bus stop

By CATHY LOGG

Herald Writer

EDMONDS — Officials breathed a sigh of relief because no children died when a car ran off the road and struck eight of 15 students waiting at a school bus stop Monday morning.

"Here we have a group of kids standing on the sidewalk waiting for the bus like they’re supposed to, and a car barrels into them," College Place Middle School Principal Andy Rogers said. "That’s pretty scary.

"We were very relieved. There were some serious injuries, but they could have been a lot worse."

All eight students were treated at Stevens Hospital in Edmonds and released. The most seriously injured youth suffered two broken legs. Doctors put temporary casts on his legs, and he now is in a wheelchair, hospital spokeswoman Beth Engel said.

Of the six girls and two boys who were injured, one girl had a broken ankle, another had a severe knee injury, one girl had a minor concussion, and four of the youths were treated for minor injuries, Engel said. All had been released from the hospital by 11:45 a.m., she said.

Witness Michael Moldoveanu, 13, was waiting to cross the street and join his seventh- and eighth-grade schoolmates at the bus stop.

"It was a lot of panicking, people scared, everybody yelling, ‘Oh, my God!’ " he said.

"Right when the car came, someone yelled, ‘Get back, guys! Get back!’ And then the car just jumped the curb and hit them."

Some students managed to jump out of the car’s path.

The driver got out and seemed to be mad at his white Mustang, Michael said. The car had struck a wall and spun 180 degrees, coming to rest next to the curb, he said.

Michael and fellow student James Bradley ran home to call 911, and the bus driver notified the school, Rogers said. Another student stayed to comfort the injured students, and some neighbors rushed to the scene to help.

The accident occurred about 7:10 a.m. as the students waited on the east side of 76th Avenue West just north of 230th Street Southwest. A car driven by a 16-year-old Edmonds/Woodway High School student was northbound on 76th when he lost control, striking the children, Edmonds Police Sgt. Mark Marsh said.

The teen was on his way to school. Police questioned him and then released him to his parents while the investigation continues, Marsh said. Alcohol was not a factor, he said.

A mile from the scene, Rogers saw the lights of the emergency vehicles.

"It kind of made my heart race. I knew it was serious at that point," he said.

Rogers and a counselor went to the hospital with student records to help identify the victims and notify their parents.

The school provided counselors for those who had witnessed the accident or who were upset because friends had been injured, school spokeswoman Amy Anderson said.

Michael spent the day with his father, he said.

"This really freaked me out because if I’d crossed the street or finished my milk earlier, I could have been one of the people being hit. … Any one of us could have been one of the kids standing there."

Rogers and a school transportation supervisor went to the scene to see if the district could make any changes to prevent similar accidents.

"I didn’t see anything we could change," Rogers said. "A greater message is that during school hours in the morning and afternoon, it’s critical that people drive safely, particularly on a day like today. The roads were wet and slick."

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