Student’s death stark reminder of bus safety

In light of a fatal crash in Erie County last week, Warren County School District officials are asking motorists to exercise caution around school buses.

“The recent school bus tragedy in Wattsburg reinforces the need for drivers to remain observant when approaching school buses,” Transportation Manager Mike Kiehl said. “Children can often be unpredictable while entering or exiting a school bus; they may be preoccupied with electronic devices, ignore hazards, and sometimes take unnecessary risks.”

Pennsylvania State Police said an eastbound car struck Noah Wion, a fifth-grader at Wattsburg Area Middle School, who had just gotten off an eastbound bus that was still stopped. Wion died the next day.

Hunter Rodland, 18, the driver of the vehicle that struck Wion, has not been charged.

Further details about the crash have not been released. Police are conducting an investigation in conjunction with the Wattsburg Area School District.

“Drivers must be alert for the unexpected around school buses and give a greater following distance,” Kiehl said. “Here are a few safety tips from the National Safety Council:

¯ Never pass a bus from behind if it is stopped to load or unload children;

¯ Traffic in all directions must stop when the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended;

¯ The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; please stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus.”

“Thank you for looking out for the safety of our students,” Kiehl said.