Police officers arrived to “pandemonium” moments after a truck and a slow-moving school minibus collided on State highway 1 north of Dunedin yesterday afternoon.
Sergeant Tony Woodbridge was one of four officers returning to North Otago after a day’s training when they happened on the scene “one or two minutes” after the crash at the Goodwood Road intersection, about 3.30pm.
The crash sent a 16-year-old East Otago High School pupil to Dunedin Hospital with moderate spinal injuries and a 7-year-old boy was taken there by ambulance for treatment for a moderate head injury.
When Mr Woodbridge arrived “there were a lot of people in panic”.
The girl, who was airlifted to hospital, was “very lucky” she did not suffer worse injuries as the right-hand rear side of the school bus, where she was sitting, was crushed in the impact.
“A school bus headed south was stopped on the side of the road letting children off,” he said at the scene.
“A second school bus was heading south as well and it appears at this stage that that bus has slowed to the correct speed of 20kph to go past another school bus, but as it was slowing it had its hazard lights on and was slowing this other vehicle (the truck) has struck it from behind.”
There were 10 passengers, from East Otago High School and Palmerston Primary School, as well as the driver on the minibus when the crash occurred.
The truck driver was uninjured, Mr Woodbridge said.
Otago Daily Times