Bus wreck sends Gardners Elementary students to hospital

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Students from Gardners Elementary School were sent to the hospital Monday afternoon after a driver ran his SUV underneath the rear of the bus they were riding.

The wreck happened about 3:45 p.m. on Tartt’s Mills Road about a half-mile from N.C. 42 on the east side of Wilson.

According to N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper J. Burrus, the driver of the SUV, 24-year-old Joshua Webb of Wilson, was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Jackie Williams, driver of Bus 167, was dropping a child off on the 4100 block of Tartt’s Mill Road when Webb drove his Toyota 4Runner into and under the rear of the bus.

Second-grader Zipporah Briggs was about to get off the bus when the wreck happened.

“I heard it when it hit,” Zipporah said. “It was a thump.”

At least four of the dozen children on the bus were taken to Wilson Medical Center complaining of injuries.

“We had two on the bus and they were sitting in the back seat,” said Nakita Proctor, mother of Joshua Whitakers, 11 and Ke’Maya Whitakers, 10.

Their father, Kenneth Jenkins, held the children’s backpacks that had been retrieved from the wrecked bus.

“I knew something was going on when they were late,” said Jenkins. “They both were on opposite sides of the bus. They hit their head on the back of the seats. They are complaining of head pains and they are on their way to the hospital now.”

Wilson County EMS took both children to Wilson Medical Center.

“It didn’t sound like anything,” said second-grader Charles Anthony Riddick Jr. “I hurt my head. I was sitting in the back.”

Riddick was walked away from the scene of the crash by his grandmother Paulette Hilliard.

The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene. Traffic was block on Tartt’s Mill Road for more than an hour.