Orange Center school bus, fuel truck collide south of Fresno

The Fresno BeeMay 12, 2014 

A fuel truck smashed into a school bus carrying about three dozen children south of Fresno on Monday afternoon -- but, luckily, there were no critical injuries reported.

There were 35 to 40 students on the bus from Orange Center Elementary School District, said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Joseph Bianchi. About 25 students sustained minor to moderate injuries, as did the two drivers, officials said.

The students ranged in age from 6 to 14, said Daniel Lynch, Fresno County Emergency Medical Services director.

The crash happened just before 2 p.m. near Central and Elm avenues.

Bianchi said the tanker was westbound on Central when it came to a stop sign at Elm. After coming to a halt, the tanker, carrying about 3,000 gallons of diesel, pulled in front of the bus, which was northbound on Elm and did not have a stop.

The intersection was closed for a quarter-mile in each direction while the fuel was siphoned into another tanker. The intersection was reopened about 9 p.m. Monday.

Linda Dominguez, business manager at Orange Center Elementary School District, said the bus was carrying Orange Center students home. She said parents were notified and some went to the scene.

"The bus looks pretty mangled and the truck that was involved looked pretty damaged," she said.

Dominguez said the bus is one of two used by the district -- and the only one equipped with seat belts. It was not clear Monday afternoon whether any of the students were wearing seat belts.

Bianchi said the most serious injuries were cuts from glass and bruising. Less serious injuries were pain complaints and scratches.

Fifteen people were taken by ambulance to various hospitals in Fresno and 12 others were released at the scene, according to Fresno County Emergency Medical Services officials.

Of those injured, four had moderate injuries and 11 were hospitalized with minor injuries. They were taken to Community Regional Medical Center, Saint Agnes Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Children's Hospital Central California and Clovis Community Medical Center, Lynch said.

The reporters can be reached at jguy@fresnobee.com, hfurfaro@fresnobee.com, mbenjamin@fresnobee.com or at (559) 441-6330.

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