Bus accident kills two Head Start students, injures four students and assistant on bus

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By Jeff Moore and Kristin Beck

A bus accident on Boone Road in Carroll County claimed the lives of two Head Start students Monday afternoon when the bus veered off the road to the left, partially overturned onto its side and hit a tree.

Kentucky State Police Post 5 spokesman Trooper Brad Arterburn said there were nine Head Start students on the bus at the time of the wreck.

Four children were injured - three of those were flown by helicopter to Kosairs Children's Hospital in Louisville, while the fourth was flown to the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington.

Arterburn said an adult assistant on the bus also was injured and flown to University of Kentucky Medical Center for treatment.

He did not know the condition or extent of injuries of any of those transported to Louisville or Lexington.

Three additional students on the bus were taken to Carroll County Memorial Hospital and treated and released to their parents Monday night.

State police said the families of the two Head Start students who were killed in the accident had been notified. However, Arterburn did not release names of any of the victims in the accident.

The accident was reported to Carroll County dispatch at 4:32 p.m. at 3258 Boone Road. Police, fire and rescue units from mutiple agencies responded to the scene, and five helicopters from Air Methods and Stat Flight responded to transport the injured from the scene.

The two children were pronounced dead at the scene by Carroll County Coroner David Wilhoite.

"It's the worst thing you can imagine for anyone who shows up," Arterburn said.

"Some were trapped and had to be pulled out," he said. Arterburn confirmed that the jaws of life had to be used at the scene to extract the passengers from the bus.

Arterburn said the bus driver was coherent and cooperative at the scene and taken by KSP to CCMH for chemical testing, which he said is standard in this type of accident. She was not injured and was released from the hospital.

Carroll County Schools Superintendent Lisa James released the following statement Monday night: "A tragic bus accident has occurred involving children enrolled in the Carroll County School District.  The accident is still under investigation by local police authorities and school district personnel. At present, we are most concerned about the children involved and their families.  Counselors and administrators have been present at area hospitals with families of some of the children involved in the accident.  The school district will have counselors available tomorrow at all of the district schools."

KSP accident reconstruction expert Trooper Dusty Corbin is on the scene working to determine how the accident occurred. Arterburn said officials do not yet know the cause.

Early reports indicated that a second vehicle was involved; however, he was unable to confirm that.

Corbin will be working into Monday night and likely much of Tuesday to reconstruct the cause of the bus accident. Arterburn said Corbin had not yet talked with the bus driver and that he would be doing that as part of his investigation.

The following agencies responded to the scene: Carroll County Sheriff's Office, Carrollton Police Department, Carroll County EMS, Carroll County Rescue, Ghent Fire Protection District, Gallatin County EMS, Henry County EMS, Carroll County Coroner, Henry County Coroner.