Posted: Mar 07, 2014 7:23 AM EST Updated: Mar 07, 2014 3:23 PM EST
Witnesses told WBTV’s David Whisenant that the bus had three students on board and was headed for West Rowan High School.
When the bus tried to turn off of Sherrills Ford Road on Majolica Road it hit an icy spot and slid down an embankment into a natural gas substation, rupturing a gas line.
Emergency crews worked for several hours to carefully remove the bus from the broken line while Piedmont Natural Gas workers assisted.
Thomason said the situation could have been much worse.
“Our biggest concern is the gas leaking from the substation, that certainly can cause another issue, an explosion or fire, but that is being contained at this time.”
Rowan County EMS Director Frank Thomason told WBTV that there were reports of ice on the road when the bus crashed just before 6:30.
“Wet, with icy patches,” is how Thomason described the road.
No injuries were reported to anyone on the bus.
Another school bus in Rowan County was also reported in a ditch off of Dooley Road.
Rowan-Salisbury Schools are operating on a regular schedule Friday.
Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody described today as “the worst case scenario.”
Moody told WBTV that she made the decision at 5:00 a.m. to go on a regular schedule because, as she said, at that time it was only raining.
“I have to make the decision by 5 in the morning,” Moody told WBTV. “This is what you absolutely dread, that at 5 in the morning it’s raining and it’s cold but the roads are fine, and at 7 this morning it was a different picture.”
Moody later released the following statement:
The decision to delay, close or keep schools open is certainly one of the most difficult decisions that I have to make as a superintendent.
I regret that the safety of any of our students or staff was ever at risk. And I’m certainly very grateful that they all arrived safely.
At 5:00 am this morning, when I had to make the decision, the roads were not icy and the forecast was for temperatures to rise throughout the day. Part of what makes this a difficult call, is that I have to make a decision hours before school starts. Around 6:30 this morning, when it became obvious that ice was accumulating, it would have been more dangerous to turn the buses around.
I am grateful to all our students and staff who have worked hard to make the best of out this day. I am also honored to work with a team of professionals who can think quickly and make the best of any situation. Thank you all for doing your part.
Our focus now is to make sure students arrive home safely this afternoon. We will dismiss at a regular time since this should be the safest time to travel.
If a student is tardy, leaves early or does not attend school today because of the weather, the day is an excused absence.
All afternoon activities have been canceled for today.
I will debrief with our staff, to try to improve any of our procedures that could have lead to better decision.
Moody told WBTV that all absences and tardiness would be excused for students who didn’t come to school on Friday.
Many parents are angry and upset about the decision. In addition to bad road conditions, at least two schools in the system were operating without power.
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