Snow Hill, NC School Bus And Truck Collision, May 1985


Snow Hill, N.C. (UPI) -- Troopers say "the good Lord was with" survivors of a fiery wreck of a school bus, a military supply truck and three other vehicles that killed five children and one man and injured at least 22.
The driver of the military truck carrying pickles veered onto the left side of two-lane U.S. 13 about 60 miles southeast of Raleigh Friday and slammed head-on into the school bus and a truck hauling corn. Three children were injured critically, officials said.
North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper C. W. Oakley, who investigated the crash, said those who survived did so only because "the good Lord was with them."
"Just about everybody on the bus was injured," Oakley said. "It's kind of a state of shock when school children get killed. It's really sad."
Two children were transported to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greeneville and nearly two dozen others, including the bus driver who was pinned beneath the steering wheel, went to Goldsboro's Wayne Memorial Hospital.
Three children treated at Wayne Memorial were later airlifted in critical condition to Duke University Medical Center. One had a head injury, another a broken neck and a third was burned.
Police say no one may every know whether the military truck driver -- who burned to death behind the wheel -- fell asleep, had a heart attack or just took his eyes off the road.
"The whole left side of the bus was tore off," said Dennis McKinney, a witness whose vehicle was involved in the wreck. "Kids were everywhere, because he just went down the whole side of the bus, he just opened it up like a sardine can."
"By the time I got down there, two kids were dead," McKinney said. "The rest of them were torn up pretty bad. Some of them were laying there unconscious."
The children who died were identified as ROBERT WARREN, 12; JAMES ARTHUR LEE, 12; RICKY CORBETT, 11; SHAWANNA ALBRITTON, 13; and MITTIE MUMFORD, 9. The dead truck driver was identified as CARSON LEE CONGER, of Norfolk, Va.
Authorities said bus driver SHEILA DAWSON, an 18-year-old student at Greene Central High School, was hospitalized in guarded condition.

Syracuse Herald-Journal New York 1985-06-01