One person reportedly suffered life-threatening injuries in a 3-vehicle crash involving a school bus on Tuesday morning.
The accident was reported around 7 a.m. on Portsmouth Avenue in the area of Foss Motors and the Fairfield Inn, according to emergency radio communications. Firefighters reportedly used the Jaws of Life on at least one vehicle. Multiple ambulances and a medical helicopter were initially called to the scene.
A witness who drove by the scene called the crash "horrendous," and said the car that collided with the bus appeared to have been "completely destroyed." Another witness said the bus was "right side up," but one car "didn't look so good."
Amanda Blake Steere said on Facebook that her son usually rides the bus, but she drove him to school today.
"It is the most horrific accident I have ever seen," she said. "I pray everyone is ok."
According to the Union Leader, a Volkswagen Jetta was headed north on Portsmouth Avenue when it lost control and struck a Honda minivan headed south. After hitting the van, the car collided with the school bus. The driver of the Jetta suffered life-threatening injuries. The students on the bus and the two people in the minivan were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Parents in the school district received an email from Cooperative Middle School Principal Bill Furbush this morning telling them the bus – bus 17 – was at the beginning of its run, and only had four students on board. None were seriously injured, according to Furbush's message.
"The four students are safe and are with their parents," he said. "As a precautionary measure the students and the bus driver were sent to Exeter Hospital."
Furbush said the students involved in the accident are expected to return to school today.
"We have also addressed the students who ride bus 17 but were not on the bus at the time of the accident," he said. "The students were picked up by a separate bus and were never involved in the accident. We addressed the students who normally ride bus 17 to ease their fears and concerns and prepare them for the questions they would be getting as well."
The intersection of Allen Street and Portsmouth Avenue was blocked off, but as of 8:50 a.m., the vehicles had been removed from the scene and the road had been reopened.