ALBION — After the school bus rollover that injured three students Tuesday, Central Noble has already made changes to prevent it from happening again.
Central Noble’s Transportation Director and School Resource Officer David Worman said the route has been changed to avoid the notoriously curvy Wolf Lake Road that the bus slid off of.
That bus route was not one that traveled through neighborhoods to pick up kids from their homes. Instead, it was one that transported kindergarten through second-grade students from Central Noble Elementary in Albion to the Primary school in Wolf Lake.
Now, to get from Albion to Wolf Lake, the bus will head south on S.R. 9, take a right on W. C.R. 200S, then turn right again onto U.S. 33.
Worman said that route will take a little longer and use some extra gas, but it’s worth it for the safety of the kids.
Another precaution Worman is taking is cautioning against repairing the rolled bus and using it again.
He said the frame was bent badly and the suspension was in poor condition, aside from other damages sustained in the accident.
“I haven’t gotten the official word yet, but I don’t think it will be repairable,” Worman said. “I’d rather it not be.”
The bus that rolled over was a brand new Blue Bird bus, one the school just bought for about $100,000.
Worman suggests buying a new bus, though that hasn’t been officially decided yet.
As for the kids, everyone is fine, and seat belts on the bus made all the difference, Worman said.
“I think it was very important that (the seat belts) were in (the bus),” he said.
The next day after the rollover, Worman said the kids bounced right back, high-fiving, smiling and ready to get back on the bus with no hesitancy.
“They’re great,” Worman said. “Little kids are resilient. They’re better than the adults are.”
Right now, Central Noble is working on replacing all of its older buses over the next few years, according to a plan that the school board recently approved.
Each new bus will have seat belts, and Worman said the district is looking into retrofitting older buses with seat belts, but didn’t know yet how it might work with the structure of the older vehicles.
As for the driver of the rolled bus, Worman said he hadn’t heard any updates from the Noble County Sheriff’s Department since she tested negative for drugs of alcohol on the day of the accident.