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Nobody Injured in Fort School Bus Mishap


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, December 21, 2016


   A Fort Fairfield school bus driver lost control and left the road on November 21.  According to MSAD #20 Superintendent, Tim Doak, the driver had been taking a drink [of coffee] and suffered from a mild case of pulmonary aspiration, causing him to choke.  “I'm not fond of [the bus drivers] drinking even water or coffee while they're driving,” said Doak.  “If you're drinking and you choke, which is what happened, it goes down the wrong hole and it takes the wind out of you.”

   Doak says the bus drifted to the right then went off the road for about 200 yards but there was no damage to the bus, or other property and nobody was injured.  “It wasn't classified an accident because the bus never got damaged and no one got hurt.”  He said another bus was called to bring the students to their destination and the first bus was able to back up and get back on the road by itself.

   Another thing that concerns Doak is the parents of the students on that buss didn't know about it until the next day.  “That's something else we need to work on.  The nurse needs to know, too, to start calling parents to let them know there was a bus incident and no one's hurt.”

   Doak says a new program will be instituted to deal with safety issues and concerns in Fort Fairfield schools.  “Every school vacation we're going to have a bus driver/custodian meeting.  We're going to go over safety issues around the building, we're going to involve the principals if they would like to come to see what things we need to look at in the High School; what things we need to look at in the Elementary school;  who's driving the busses this week, who's going on long trips.  Let's  remember we're not going to drink coffee when we go on our runs.  If you do need to take a water with you, which is understandable, limit the amount of time you drink water when kids are on the bus.”

    “I'll tell you right now, ninety-five percent of the time we do it right,” explained Doak.  “Bus accidents will happen, they're everywhere.  We try to eliminate them, but in this situation no one got hurt.  One percent of all accidents in the United States involve school busses.  It's the safest vehicle on the road.  Every now and then you do have mishaps.  We always tell our drivers if there's an incident you stop and call for help and another bus goes out, put the kids on that bus and take them where they should be.