Fifteen students were riding bus on way to school

A school bus carrying 15 students was struck by an unmanned truck after it rolled down a hill in downtown Gaston Monday just before classes started for the day.

The truck hit the bus — which was making a right-hand turn from Highway 47 onto Park Street toward the campus of Gaston Elementary, the junior high and the high school around 8:15 a.m. — on the passenger side door, said school district Business Manager Marie DuRette.

The incident occurred in front of the Gaston Super Market.

“We were very lucky,” DuRette said. “The vehicle hit the side where students board the bus, but no one was injured.”

Gaston Rural Fire District personnel responded to the accident but no ambulance services were called, said volunteer Public Information Officer Ken Bilderback, who was alerted by pager to the early morning mishap.

“What a day so far,” he said around 9:30 a.m., more than an hour after the collision. “The call came over as an injury accident, but fortunately it didn’t turn out to be that.”

Parents transported one child to a doctor’s office for observation, Bilderback noted. All the other students — who ranged in age from 6 to 17 — were transferred to another bus to be transported the remaining two blocks to school.

Gaston School District officials reported that the pickup truck involved in the accident was unoccupied at the time it rolled down Park Street.

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