10 injured when Palmetto Breeze bus rolls over in Lady's Island accident

emoody@beaufortgazette.comJune 11, 2014 

Ten people were injured Wednesday when a Palmetto Breeze bus carrying special-needs passengers rolled over while crossing the Chowan Creek Bridge on Sea Island Parkway.

Ten people were injured Wednesday when a public transit bus carrying special-needs passengers rolled over in a three-vehicle accident while crossing the Chowan Creek Bridge on Sea Island Parkway, according to a Lady's Island/St. Helena Fire District spokesman.

The bus's driver and seven passengers were among those taken to Beaufort Memorial Hospital, according to the district's Scott Harris. The driver and passenger of a pickup truck involved in the accident were also taken to Beaufort Memorial.

The 16-passenger bus was on its way to the Beaufort County Disabilities and Special Needs day program when the driver swerved to avoid an object in the road -- which turned out to be a basket -- at about 8:15 a.m., Harris said.

The bus rolled over, sliding into oncoming traffic and striking a pickup truck head on. A second pickup truck rear-ended the bus, Harris said.

The driver and a passenger in the pickup that was struck head-on were both injured and taken to Beaufort Memorial, he said. Neither the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office nor the S.C. Highway Patrol would identify them or knew their condition.

The driver of the second pickup truck was not injured, Harris said.

One bus passenger had to be extricated and sustained severe trauma to the head, shoulder and arm, Harris said.

That passenger was sent to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, underwent surgery and is in stable condition, according to Beaufort County Disabilities and Special Needs director Mitzi Wagner.

The bus driver and the other six passengers have been released from the hospital, Wagner said.

The roadway near the scene on Sea Island Parkway -- the main artery between the Sea Islands and Beaufort -- was closed to traffic in both directions until about 10 a.m., according to a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office news release.

The Highway Patrol is investigating the accident, and a spokesman did not know whether charges would be filed.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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