83-year-old school bus driver charged after 8 children hospitalized after Pittsylvania County crash

Crash happened at the intersection of Mt. Cross Road and Oakland Drive

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. – State police say a school bus driver failed to yield the right of way while making a left turn on Tuesday morning.

John Patterson, 83, of Danville, who was driving the bus, was wearing his seatbelt and was not injured.

Police have charged him with failing to yield the right of way while making the left turn from Oakland Drive onto Mount Cross Road. 

The school bus was carrying 18 juveniles, 8 of which were transported to SOVAH Hospital in Danville for non-life threatening injuries.

The 1992 Toyota was driven by a 17-year-old boy, who police say was wearing his seatbelt and was transported to SOVAH Hospital for injuries received in the crash.  

His passenger, a 15-year-old boy was also wearing his seatbelt and was transported to SOVAH in Danville.

The crash remains under investigation

Just before 8 a.m. Tuesday, Pittsylvania County school bus 22, driven by Paterson and loaded with 18 Tunstall Middle and High School students on their way to class, collided with a small black pickup truck.

Jeanette Yacks and others who live near the intersection of Mt. Cross Road and Oakland Drive where the crash happened said a stop light at the intersection would be nice.

"Or at least a caution light. There's been several accidents in this area. A lot of people speed through. Maybe some speed bumps or something to slow people down," Yacks said.

Yacks was sitting in her living room Tuesday morning when the crash happened.

"(I) heard what I thought was a loud clap of thunder or a transformer exploding," Yacks said.

She looked at the weather report on her phone and saw that there was no thunderstorm in the area, so she looked outside.

"It was quite a mess. Had the truck in the middle of the road, the bus on the side, and (I was) just praying everybody was safe," Yacks said.

Pittsylvania County Public Schools' transportation director Kenyon Scott said the school district works with VDOT and law enforcement to look into concerns residents have about any stretch of road.

"I am not aware of any data that exists that indicates that this particular intersection is particularly dangerous," Scott said.

Scott would not say if the Paterson will be allowed to continue to drive busses while state police investigate the crash or what will happen if to Paterson now that he is charged with failure to yield the right of way.

"That's a personnel matter that I'm really not at liberty to discuss," Scott said.

His response was the same when 10 News asked how long Paterson has been with the district and if Paterson or bus 22 have been in any accidents before.

Scott said a letter with the school district's official statement was scheduled to be sent home with students Tuesday.

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