A Bus Accident That Never Should Have Happened

by Rhonda

March 31 1979. My boss and I and another woman driver were at the Conway, Arkansas bus factory picking up two new buses that we would deliver to our Ames, Iowa office before the buses would be delivered to the Iowa school districts that ordered them.

All was going just fine and it was a beautiful March day. After getting the buses ready and all the paperwork done, we were soon on our way home. My boss drove the company car, and I came second and my co-worker last. Sure is a pretty day and the scenery is awesome and the roads were curvy and hilly.

I was noticing a milk truck--the small, short ones like you see going to dairy farms-- gaining on us fast on those hills and curves and even passing when you should not be passing-- like on a curve. Why do people want to drive fast and be a danger to others on hills and curves? I'm not too concerned as that truck is a ways back there, but I will keep on watching.

The bus started acting strange like it had a flat tire and I so I pulled off to the side of the road and there was just enough room to get the bus off on the shoulder. My boss was just ahead of me and had rounded a curve. I was still in the driver's seat and was looking in the rear view mirror when a few seconds later I see that the milk truck was passing my co-worker. There was a semi coming from the other direction and I thought that I was about to see an accident because of this impatient driver. Instead of getting in the proper lane after passing, he was on the shoulder and heading right toward me!! At 60mph!! I see he is going to rear end me and that little bulldog on the hood is getting bigger.

BANG!!! CRASH!!! The next thing I knew I was lying in the aisle about halfway back. My co-worker was soon at the front doors screaming and looking for me. After I collected my senses I became really mad as I headed toward the front door. This accident never should have happened. I see that the back of the driver's seat is as horizontal as the seat bottom. WOW!! I did that??!! And how did I go from there to the middle of the aisle halfway back??

I see the back of the bus is all pushed in as far as the rear seats, which at that time were not right at the doors - probably a foot from it. I am hurting and I'm still mad about this happening so I head right for the milk truck. It had flipped on its side and the driver was climbing out and I was above him getting ready to punch him out!! My fist was ready and about that time, someone picked me up and carried me away from him. It was my boss. When did he get here??

A police officer was already here so one must have been in the area or we were next to a town. Both of them told me "Stay here and do not move!" Then they told the woman whose home this happened in front of to "watch her and don't let her out of your sight." By now I was really hurting and did not feel like going far.

The driver also clipped the second bus before he plowed into me. Many who stopped also told the officers about the driving habits of the milk truck driver. The force of this accident shoved me about 50 yards according to one of the officers.

Not sure how long we were at the accident scene but when it was time to go, the boss drove my bus and I got the car as both buses had to be returned to the factory over ninety miles away. We got that job done and came home the next day without the buses.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
by Brett Aquila

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