After-school bus accident last week creates some confusion

No one was injured in a bus-car collision Aug. 25 near Hinsdale Central High School, but some Hinsdale Middle School students on the bus left the scene, creating anxiety for parents.

The bus was clipped by a car at 55th and Grant streets, according to Nick Shepkowski, communications director for Community Consolidated Elementary District 181. Police and fire personnel were already on the scene when district administrators arrived, he said. They were given a list of names of students on the bus, and those families were contacted immediately by HMS Principal Cory Burke, Shepkowski said.

Some students reportedly told the bus driver they lived a block or two away and asked to be let off.

“Ultimately the door was open and a few of these students walked away from the scene in that time,” Shepkowski said, noting they departed before D181 arrived on the scene.

Administrators assumed any students who were not on the bus had already been dropped off at their stops. A Facebook post on the D181 Community group Friday was critical of how the incident was handled.

“I’m aghast at the failure for what I assumed would be an old-fashioned bus evacuation plan,” one parent wrote. “Thankfully no one was injured. But the school administration/oversight didn’t even know who was on the bus.”

Shepkowski said the bus eventually was able to resume its route.

“Bus drivers are being reminded and re-trained on how to handle this kind of incident,” Shepkowski said. “D181 is extremely grateful no students or staff were harmed.”

The post also mentioned a boy had been struck at the corner of Eighth and Madison streets. Police and the district were not aware of such an incident.

— by Pamela Lannom

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean