PINE RIDGE — One child was transported to the hospital and a driver has been charged after a school bus was involved in a collision Thuresday morning.
According to Surry County EMS Director John Shelton, a school bus collided with another vehicle on Pine Ridge Road near the Virginia state line shortly before 7 a.m. on Thursday.
Shelton said one child was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries.
N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper J.R. Hall said the bus was travelling south on Pine Ridge Road to Cedar Ridge Elementary School when a 1996 Ford Ranger operated by Dylan Rodgers allegedly crossed the center line and struck the bus head-on.
Hall said Rodgers did complain of some pain, but he opted to ride in a personal vehicle to receive medical care.
Both Rodgers and the bus driver were wearing their seat belts, according to Hall, and after performing some field sobriety tests, Hall determined Rodgers was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Hall added that Rodgers has been charged with reckless driving and no operator’s license.
According to Sonia Dickerson, director of communications for the Surry County Schools, the child who was transported to Northern Hospital of Surry County was done so as a precautionary measure, and the child was released to his or her parents. The bus driver, Grant Cockerham, also went to the hospital as a precautionary measure.
Noting that the safety of students is the number one priority in his district, superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves stated Cockerham deserves some credit for his actions in avoiding what could have been a tragic event.
“I want to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the bus driver, Mr. Grant Cockerham, who did a phenomenal job during this situation,” said Reeves in a statement. “His quick thinking helped to prevent what could have been a more serious accident. His quick actions in pulling the bus over onto the grass as the other driver approached certainly protected the students.”
“I also want to compliment the emergency medical team who responded immediately, the professionalism of the N.C. Highway Patrol while assisting us throughout the process and Northern Hospital of Surry for their attentive work with our student and driver,” added Reeves.
Dickerson noted that another bus picked up the remaining students and delivered them safely to Cedar Ridge, where state testing began 20 minutes late as a result of the collision. All parents of Cedar Ridge students were notified of the incident via an automated telephone message, and parents of students involved in the collision were called directly by school officials.
Reeves said he was extremely happy that nobody was injured in the collision.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.