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12 elementary students survive crash into Greenfield home

| Monday, March 6, 2006

Twelve elementary school students survived a crash this morning, when their bus careened off a steep hillside and plowed into a Greenfield home.

"If you look at where the bus ended up, it's amazing it didn't flip over," said Pittsburgh police Sgt. Rich Begenwald. "This could have been a lot worse, for sure. You come around that turn too fast, it's very sharp."

The bus, bound for RAPAH Charter School in East Liberty, plummeted from Swinburne Street into a house on Boundary Road just after 7:30 a.m. Four children were taken to Children's Hospital in Oakland, with non-life-threatening injuries, said Pittsburgh EMS Chief Bob McCaughan. One of the children might have suffered a broken leg, emergency workers said.

The driver of the bus was taken to UPMC Presbyterian, McCaughan said, and his injuries also were considered minor. McCaughan declined to release the driver's name, or the names of the injured children.

The homeowner, Charles Haynie, 89, was taken to Mercy Hospital to be checked out, but he walked out of the house unassisted and appeared uninjured, McCaughan said.

The house is located at the top of a steep, wooded hillside that sits on the brink of Panther Hollow, near the border with South Oakland.

Pittsburgh School Police took the eight uninjured children to school, Begenwald said.

Police still are trying to determine if the crash was caused by driver error or mechanical failure, he said.

There were skid marks where the bus went off the road and struck the house. A damage estimate for the house was not available this morning, but the entire rear of the house appeared demolished.

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