Scene of the accident along W. Georgia Road in Simpsonville. (Feb. 15, 2012/FOX Carolina)
SIMPSONVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -
The driver of a truck that collided with a school bus near Simpsonville on Wednesday morning has been charged in connection with the crash.
The crash happened at 8:20 a.m. at 1836 W. Georgia Road near Greenville Technical College's Brashier campus.
Troopers said a pickup truck, driven by 42-year-old Michelle Kaufman, of Simpsonville, was traveling west on the road when the vehicle crossed the center line and crashed head-on into a Greenville County school bus that was eastbound.
Troopers said 51 students were onboard the bus when the crash happened. They said seven of the students were taken to area hospitals and treated for minor injuries. 12-year-old Kanan Kontorovsky was on that bus.
"They were crying and yelling," Kontorovsky said. "Some of them were bleeinging from their noses."
He said he heard a loud bang and the impact from the crash pushed him forward in his seat.
"I hit my leg with the seat," he said as he showed us a cut on his leg.
Susan Clarke, spokeswoman for Greenville County Schools, said Woodmont Middle School students were on the bus.
Troopers said Kaufman was wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash. A FOX Carolina crew at the scene said Kaufman was flown to an area hospital to be treated for her injuries.
The school bus driver was wearing his seat belt, as well. He was taken to Greenville Memorial Hospital to be treated for his injuries.
FOX Carolina spoke with a high school senior Stanislav Kolesnyk who was driving behind the bus and witnessed the crash. He said he pulled over to check on the bus and the students on board before getting a fire extinguisher to put out the pickup truck fire.
Kolesnyk said he put out the fire in the truck and the female driver was conscious at the time.
Troopers said that Kaufman was charged with driving under the influence in connection with the crash. One of Kaufman's neighbors told FOX Carolina Kaufman has a prior medical condition that may have contributed to the wreck.
"As far as I know she has a medical condition as far as a tumor on the brain," Casey Brockington said. He said Kaufman is a good neighbor and a lovely person. "She may have been on medication that made her drowsy, could have made her tired."
As of Wednesday night Kaufman was listed in critical but stable condition at Greenville Memorial Hospital.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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