This reader-submitted image shows a Sullivan West school bus having slid off an obviously icy and slippery Hungry Hill Road just north of Long Eddy. The truck stopped or possibly stuck across the road was not the tow truck the bus’ operator, First Student, later sent to assist. No injuries to the driver/students and no damage to the bus were reported.
SW school bus slides off icy road
Story by Dan Hust
LONG EDDY January 7, 2014 A Sullivan West school bus slid off an icy, wet road yesterday morning.
SW Superintendent Nancy Hackett said the driver had come to a stop on Hungry Hill Road in Long Eddy because there were two stopped, possibly stuck vehicles ahead of the bus.
Hungry Hill is a dirt road in Delaware County’s Town of Hancock, just over the Sullivan border but still within SW’s district boundaries.
It’s icy and snowy often enough that SW’s transportation contractor, First Student, outfitted the bus with equipment that applies sand to the wheels.
But Monday morning’s heavy rains simply washed the sand off the tires and the road, creating very slick conditions that made the stopped bus slide onto the shoulder, explained Hackett.
Though there’s a steep embankment close to the road, she said the driver and the three kids aboard the bus were able to get out and walk around the bus.
“It wasn’t a safety issue for the children or the driver in any way,” Hackett insisted.
A truck that came upon the scene apparently got stuck trying to assist, but Hackett said the tow truck First Student sent had no problems extricating the bus.
No one was injured, the bus wasn’t damaged, and the students made it to school (albeit late), thanks to an elementary bus that was making a run in the area, she added.
Hackett could not confirm a report that a parent took some students directly to school due to lack of room on the elementary bus, though she did acknowledge that parents have the authority to do so.
Hungry Hill Road is “one we always kind of look at,” Hackett acknowledged, but she had been unsuccessful in reaching Town of Hancock officials about its condition early yesterday morning.
Her 4 a.m. conversations with the rest of the towns within SW’s borders indicated that conditions were adequate for safe transportation, she said thus, SW opened school on time.
“There were no delays anywhere in Sullivan County,” Hackett noted (although SW’s neighbor in Pennsylvania, the Wayne Highlands School District, had a two-hour delay).
She did acknowledge that making a call to delay or close school is tricky and dependent on a complex array of factors precipitation, temperature, road conditions, etc., spread out over a 200-square-mile district.
“We would never put children on a bus when we didn’t feel it was safe,” she said.
In this incident, Hackett praised the driver’s skills and First Student’s prompt response.
“Thankfully, everyone was OK,” she noted.