Updated 10/10/2012 04:55 PM
Two Students Remain in Hospital After Bus Crash
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It happened around 3:30 Tuesday afternoon in what neighbors call a typically quiet neighborhood. Police in Brighton say a school bus carrying four elementary aged students from Council Rock Primary School was rear-ended by a car occupied by four Brighton High School students.
The elementary students and the bus driver were not hurt. The four high schoolers went to Strong Memorial Hospital. Police identified them as Kevin Thapa and John Zakhary, both 16 years old. Police say Zakhary was driving the car. They've been released from the hospital.
Scott Collins, also 16, remains in guarded condition. Christa Mickol, 14, has been upgraded to satisfactory.
Police continue to look into whether speed was a factor in this accident.
"The crash reconstruction will give us an approximate if not the exact speed of the vehicle. The vehicle itself will yield some data as will the bus and that's what we're doing at this time,” said Chief Mark Henderson of the Brighton Police Department.
People living along Warren Avenue that witnessed the crash also believe speed played a role.
"It was just a matter of these kids it appears maybe going a little faster than they should and just not paying attention trying to pass a school bus,” said Glenn Miller, a witness.
Police say they are also working closely with the Monroe County District Attorney's Office to see if possible charges could be filed.
They say the driver, John Zakhary, has a valid drivers’ license. They're investigating whether he had too many young passengers for a driver his age.
"There's a graduated licensing process. Part of that graduating licensing process is you can, as a relatively new driver, not have passengers in your vehicle. We're pursuing that angle of the investigation as well,” Henderson said.
The law states young motorists with a junior license cannot have more than one passenger in their vehicle under the age of 21, unless those passengers are members of the driver's immediate family, or if one is a licensed parent, guardian, driver education teacher or driving school instructor. Henderson says young drivers need to take that responsibility seriously.
"You saw the horrific nature of that crash, four people were injured, and two are still in the hospital. We're looking at what caused that accident. Is it the fault of the young person? At this time, I don't know."
We continue to keep the Brighton students involved in yesterday’s bus/car accident in our thoughts and prayers. They are: Scott Collins (BHS junior), Christa Mickol (BHS freshman), Kevin Thapa (BHS junior) and John Zakhary (BHS junior). We are closely monitoring their recovery and will provide support for them and their families throughout their time of need.
The school district is supporting all students and staff by activating its crisis response teams and closely monitoring the needs of anyone who needs additional assistance during this difficult time. Counseling is available for all students and staff. Please contact the main office at your child's school if you have questions or would like help working through this with your child.
We are grateful for the incredible work of Brighton’s and the mutual aid emergency responders, medical professionals, and school staff. Their care, compassion, and calm application of expert training helped our students yesterday and keep us safe each day. The Brighton Central School District and greater Brighton community are fortunate to have each other for support and care. Let our attention and best wishes be focused on the speedy and full recovery of our students.