A chain-reaction crash in Medford Township that involved five school buses in a caravan returning from a summer camp in southern New Jersey, could have been far worse. No serious injuries were reported, said the Medford Lakes Fire Department, but that’s not stopping angry social media posts about the incident.
A total of 23 people were sent to area hospitals following the July 16 afternoon incident, and 35 were reportedly evaluated by emergency services at the scene. Photos taken at the scene showed no rain or other problematic weather conditions.
Medford Township police said, “Initial asessment by first responders identified 21 children, one camp staff member and two bus drivers with injuries that were all determined to be minor in nature. Each of the injured was transported to Virtua Voorhees and Virtua Mount Holly hospitals for treatment of their injuries. 67 campers and 10 staff members were taken off the buses and were then transported back to the JCC Camp on additional buses to be reunified with their families.”
Officials reported that five school buses were returning home after the JCC summer day camp concluded, when they crashed at 4:08 p.m., for an unstated reason. Medford Township police, fire and EMS units were immediately dispatched, and police are still investigating the cause of the incident.
The crash resulted in “nonlife threatening injuries to several dozen children. Multiple agencies from Burlington County worked together to provide fast emergency care,” the fire department stated.
Officials said the campers, even though they were thrust into “a difficult situation, worked together to help the injured and lift spirits.”
According to the Medford Township Traffice Safety Unit, the five buses are owned and operated by the Safety Bus Company, located in Pennsauken, N.J.
At this reporting, there were 33 comments posted on the fire department’s Facebook page, most of which criticized the bus drivers for allegedly following too close and speeding. A number of posters offered the usual thoughts and prayers for the victims, but some posters urged that the speed limit be lowered.
A typical commentor noted that, “Maybe [New Jersey Department of Transportation] needs to start bothering school buses like they bother us other truck drivers all day long. These school buses drive like a******s and drive way too fast. I see it all day long.”
A second person wrote, “I’m sure they follow too closely, I’ve seen the same in other places. I’d like to know exactly what happened to cause the first buses to run into each other. Just thankful none of the kids were more severely injured.”
A third person commented, “I certainly hope the bus drivers all got tickets for following too close. Our children are in those buses and the drivers should be held to a higher standard.”
A fourth comment stated, “Just remember folks, those buses carry a lot of weight; add kids to it and the buses are heavier. Stopping on a dime isn’t always the case. Not defending, just stating a fact, that’s all.”
The Medford Township Police Department has been invited to comment on the crash.
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