School bus slides off road and over embankment, parents told it’s weather delay

MORETOWN, Vt. (AP) — Parents and school officials in Vermont said they weren’t told the extent of an accident where a school bus carrying children slid off a roadway and was hanging halfway down an embankment.

Parents said they were initially told by Moretown Elementary School officials in a two emails Thursday morning that buses had been delayed due to weather, that the kids were safe and eventually arrived at school. Police reported no injuries, but the delay was due to the bus losing traction while driving up a steep hill then sliding backward and off a snowy road until most of the bus was hanging off an embankment.

Police and fire crews responded to the scene. Most of the children were transferred to another bus and taken to school; several were picked up by parents, the Times Argus reported.

Parents said they learned that the back of the bus was hanging off an embankment from another email sent by the school that afternoon and some had been informed by their students when they were picked up from school.

School officials say they also weren’t told the extent of the incident, placing blame for a “serious communication breakdown” on the bus company, First Student.

A manager with First Student sent Harwood Unified Union School District Superintendent Brigid Nease a message Friday apologizing on behalf of the company saying it had “failed in providing the district with accurate, timely information” and that there had been a breakdown in communication between the bus driver and dispatch.

The incident remains under investigation by the school district, police and the bus company, Nease said.

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