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School bus safety questions raised after Bettendorf accident

An accident involving a Bettendorf Middle School bus and another vehicle being investigated by the Bettendorf Police Department.

The wreck was reported around 3:15 p.m. Monday, April 28, 2014 on the corner of 30th Street and Bellevue Avenue.

The bus was taking students home after school, when it was traveling south on 30th Street and collided with an eastbound car. The car had reportedly run a stop sign and broadsided the bus, according to Bettendorf School District Operations Manager John Campbell.

Eleven students were transported to area hospitals complaining of neck and back pain, the two passengers in the other car were also taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

In light of the accident, questions about bus safety have been raised and whether or not seat belts should be added. Seat belts are not required in buses transporting children above pre-school age.

“I think they should have seat belts,” said Bettendorf resident, Diana Werts. “They have to have them in cars and you get a big fine if you don’t have it in them so I don’t see why you can’t have them in the buses.”

“There’s an element of luck obviously,” said Campbell. “But I think our drivers are well trained and they’re safe drivers. Although an accident can happen at any time.”

Bettendorf Schools Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said he was extremely pleased with the work done by first responders and the school bus driver, saying both parties had assessed the scene very well and made sure students were safe.

Dr. Schutte said he and other school personnel, including the principal, were at the hospitals students were transported to. They spoke to students and parents about the accident.

“I think like all of us they were just extremely grateful that their students were relatively unharmed other than being shaken up and maybe a little bit sore,” Schutte said.

Dr. Schutte said the policy on seat belts in Bettendorf school buses probably won’t change because this is the first accident in twenty years, but he is looking into improving communication with families during a school emergency.

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