School buses involved in minor accident

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BEACON FALLS — Slippery conditions led to a minor school bus accident Jan. 6 at Woodland Regional High School.

The accident occurred as students were getting dropped off at the high school. Region 16 Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin said a bus slide into a curb at the bottom of Woodland’s driveway and got into a “fender bender” with another bus. No students were on the buses at the time, as they had been dropped off, and no one was injured, he said.

The accident backed up traffic heading to the high school and delayed buses for younger students in the region, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, for about 30 to 45 minutes, Yamin said.

A steady snow storm dropped a few inches of snow in the area, however Region 16 didn’t have a delayed opening. Nearby districts, including Naugatuck public schools and Waterbury public schools, opened at the normal time as well. While other districts, including Oxford public schools and Seymour public schools, had a two-hour delay.

Yamin said he had a conference call with area superintendents and John Bagioni, meteorologist with Fax-Alert Weather Service, at about 4:15 a.m. He said superintendents were told the snow was supposed to stop by 5:30 a.m. or 6 a.m.

Yamin said as of 5:30 a.m. the school lots were plowed and sanded. After talking with public works officials from both towns and officials with All-Star Transportation, the busing company for the region, it was agreed that the roads were safe, he said.

However, the storm intensified between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m. due to “unforeseen atmospheric changes,” Bagioni said told the Republican-American, causing heavy snowfall.

“What was expected to be a half to 1 inch snowfall that exited by 6 or 7 a.m. suddenly became a 2 to 3 inch snowfall that continued past 8 a.m.,” Bagioni said. “Unfortunately, these types of forecast busts may happen from time to time given the complex nature of the atmosphere and our inability sometimes to see very small, regional atmospheric changes until they are underway.”

Yamin said superintendents were given bad information. He added not having a delayed opening was a poor decision on his part.