School Bus Driver Was Distracted Prior to Wethersfield Crash: Cops

A school bus driver was distracted when she rear-ended a Jeep in Wethersfield while heading to the Glastonbury-East Hartford Elementary Magnet School in a crash that sent nine people to the hospital Thursday morning, according to police.

The seven students on board, who are believed to be 7 or 8 years old, were taken to Connecticut Children's Medical Center to be evaluated as a precaution, officials said.

The woman who was driving the First Student bus was taken to Hartford Hospital. The male driver of the Jeep was also hospitalized. No serious injuries were reported, but the Jeep driver did suffer some facial injuries, authorities said.

Police are investigating the crash but said traffic was stopped and the bus driver was apparently distracted and failed to see the Jeep stopped in front of her. She was cited for traveling too fast for conditions and distracted driving, according to Wethersfield police.

"We suspect the bus driver was distracted for some reason. We've investigated whether the driver was on the phone. We don't believe that was the case," said Wethersfield police Lt. Andrew Power.

The assistant superintendent in Wethersfield said CREC students from several towns were on board the bus.

"Police are still investigating the cause of the accident. Student safety is CREC’s first priority. We are working closely with local officials to collect more information," CREC officials said in a statement.

Department of Motor Vehicles inspectors checked the bus and said there was no immediate indication of mechanical problems.

Power said he believes everyone involved is going to be OK.

First Student bus company said the driver has been removed from service in the wake of the crash, which is standard procedure.

"The safety and security of students is our top priority, so we're certainly thankful there appear to be no serious injuries," First Student said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "We are assisting police with their investigation and will conduct our own internal review."

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