No one hurt in school bus crash

State trooper P.M. Neff walks outside the scene of this crash involving a car and a school bus near the intersection of Howellsville and Hardesty Roads near Shenandoah Farms on Monday afternoon. A teenager was charged with reckless driving after he crossed the center line and struck the bus, which was stopped, head-on. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL — A 16-year-old boy escaped injury after hitting a Warren County Public Schools bus head-on Monday afternoon.

Bus 55, driven by Benjamin Bragg, was unloading students on Howellsville Road near Hardesty Road when a 1999 Mazda Protégé, driven by the 16-year-old, hit the front end of the bus at 4:15 p.m.

The front end of the car went under the bus’s axle, lifting both its wheels off the road.

Trooper P.M. Neff, of the Virginia State Police, said the driver of the car, whose name could not be released due to his age, and the 14 students on the bus were uninjured. The students on the bus were transferred to another bus with assistance from the Warren County Fire and Rescue and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Neff said.

Neff said the driver would be charged with reckless driving.

Jerry Smith, shop foreman for Warren County Public Schools, walks past this head-on crash scene involving a car and school bus on Howellsville Road on Monday afternoon. No one was injured in the crash. Rich Cooley/Daily

“If he’d been going the posted speed limit, he would’ve been able to stop in time to avoid hitting the bus,” Neff said.

Neff said she could not say how fast the driver was going, however speeding and “lack of experience” played a part in the crash.

“There was 120 feet of skid marks, so we know he was going pretty fast,” Neff said. “Hitting a school bus is not a common thing … they paint them bright yellow for a reason. The speed limit is 35 mph, so its safe to say speed was involved.”

While Neff could not put a monetary amount on the damage, she said the car was totaled.

Aaron Mitchell, director of the Warren County Public Schools Transportation Department, inspected the scene. He said he came as soon as he heard.

“It’s the kind of thing that puts your heart in your throat,” Mitchell said. “I’m glad nobody was hurt.”

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com