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Old 08-18-2004, 04:30 PM   #1
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Bus Full Of Kids Loses Axle

Bus 91 is now sitting up on concrete blocks in the back of the Harpursville School lot. Around 7:30 this morning, the rear axle suddenly fell off with 36 students of all ages on board.

12 Year Old Richard Ruggiero says, "All of a sudden, I heard a bang and I saw the back wheel come off and it almost hit a car, but it didn't."

The bus was turning onto Main Street when the rear axle fell off. It left deep scrapes in the road as the bus dragged about halfway down the street.

Richard Ruggiero says, "It was just very scary. I was trying to comfort people, but me myself, I had a stomach ache. I was crying I was scared."

Richard says the bus driver radioed for help and told the kids to stay calm. Once back at school, everyone was checked out by nurses.

No one was seriously injured, but 5 kids were sent to Lourdes Hospital to be re-checked, as a precaution.

Now, school leaders are focused on what went wrong with the bus.

Harpursville Assistant Superintendent Kathleen Wood says, "Currently the bus is being inspected by a DOT inspector. It has a regularly maintained program. We checked that and it was last checked in October 2003".

That's in line with state regulations, but it still leaves a lot of questions.

Richard's Mother Natalie Ruggiero says, "There had to be something else. An axle doesn't just fall out. Something's just not sitting right."

Ruggiero says she'll be waiting to hear what the inspectors find, before she can feel good about sending Richard back on the bus.

State law requires any bus driver in an "accident" to take a drug test. School leaders at Harpursville say they don't expect any problems.

And, they're proud of the way their driver handled the situation.
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Old 08-18-2004, 11:45 PM   #2
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from the photo, it looks like the U-bolts busted right off since the springs are not attached to the axle. How very odd!

I'd be curious to see what the investigation turned up.
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Old 08-19-2004, 02:11 AM   #3
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I like how they call it a "rear axle" when it's the entire rear-end that came out in one piece. Axles are in each side of the rear-end and there are two of them. Anyway, I bet the ruling is just what he says, defective u-bolts or undersized ones that failed. I don't see any damage to the rear-end so it certainly didn't fail.
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Old 08-19-2004, 11:48 PM   #4
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I remember a few years ago hearing about a bus in Jefferson County CO that lost a rear end. I guess stuff happens.
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