“The bus went kind of in the air and kids were flying out their seats,” said 9-year-old Davaun Gray, describing his bus ride home Tuesday from Katherine Finchy Elementary School.
The students say their substitute bus driver hit a big bump in the road at Avenida Caballeros and Racquet Club in Palm Springs.
“She was going fast,” Davaun said.
“My rib hit the chair,” said Labraun Gray, Davaun’s 10-year-old brother.
“It hurt me and then my back hurt,” said 11-year-old Jazmine Ramirez.
“My daughter has spinal and neck pain,” said Erika Mondragon, who had three children suffer injuries on the bus.
The bus driver pulled over and the school’s principal and California Highway Patrol were both called to the scene.
“There were no children that had visible injuries, there were several that complained of pain but nothing visible,” said Mike Radford, spokesman for CHP.
“The principal said, ‘You’re OK, nothing is wrong, you’re fine,'” Jazmine said.
No paramedics were called even though several of the kids reported being hurt, and parents say they didn’t get a call to notify them of what happened.
Mondragon said when she went to the school Wednesday to file a complaint, this is what the principal told her:
“He said, ‘the kids looked good, ready to go,'” she said. “And here we have at the hospital a little girl with seven broken ribs.”
The speed limit on Avenida Caballeros is 40 MPH, and CHP says the bus was driving only 30 MPH when it hit the dip.
We drove the same road at that speed, to feel the impact ourselves. All the contents of our live truck went flying.
“If they don’t know the route then they shouldn’t be working it,” said Nilsa Ramirez, Jazmine’s mother.
“We want our rights to be respected as parents, we have rights,” Mondragon said. “We want answers.”
The district told News Channel 3 the principal rode the bus route after the incident and talked to parents at bus stops to explain the situation. But none of the parents we spoke with said that is true.
CHP did not cite the bus driver.