by Trisha Ingalls
IRASBURG — Families were counting their blessings after a truck collided with a school bus carrying 14 students on Route 58 in Irasburg Thursday. A five-year-old girl, who sustained minor injuries, was the only person to be hurt in the crash. Vermont State Police were on the scene, along with tow trucks, worried parents, Irasburg school staff, and emergency response crews after a Ford pickup truck towing a tractor collided with a school bus pulling out of a driveway.
The accident happened as the bus, driven by Tony Pallotta, turned out of a private driveway near the offices of Sanville Real Estate on Route 58. It attempted to cross the road and head east back toward the village of Irasburg, as the truck, headed west, came around the curve and couldn’t avoid a collision.
Tyson Palmer was at the wheel of the pickup.
Aaron Smith, a mechanic for Butler’s Bus Service, was on the scene with a fresh school bus in case of need. He said it was lucky the vehicles only struck glancing blows off each other.
It was a half day of school, and kids and their parents found themselves unexpectedly spending the afternoon outside in the hot sun, waiting to go home.
Emma Bergeron, a ninth grader at Lake Region Union High School, was on the bus.
“We were pulling out and the truck came and we just collided,” she said. She said the bus tipped to its right side when the pickup hit it, then leaned back over to the left, throwing kids from one side of the bus to the other.
“I was on the other side so I got thrown into another seat,” she said. She and a friend went to the front of the bus to help get younger kids out, because it seemed as ifeveryone was in shock.
Emma carried out the little girl who was taken by ambulance for treatment. Then she called her mom.
“It was scary, we were in Newport, Derby area and we flew down here to come and get her and we’ve been waiting ever since,” Emma’s mom, Jessica Roberts, said. They had to wait for the EMT staff to provide paperwork for them to sign.
Shaun Curtis, assistant chief of the Irasburg Volunteer Fire Department, said his crew was paged to stand by at the station, and when the firefighters arrived, the kids were out safely thanks to Mr. Pallotta.
Mr. Palmer, had already pulled his truck off to the side of the road. He had just finished haying and was headinghome for the day.