Icy roads stop dozens of school buses on morning run

Posted: 12:48 PM EST Feb 19, 2014   Updated: 6:15 PM EST Feb 19, 2014
Icy Penn Avenue

Icy roads forced the Conrad Weiser School District to put the brakes on its school buses Wednesday morning.

All looked fine with the weather early on, with district officials having no plans to delay the start of classes, said Randall Grove, the superintendent.

Conditions, however, quickly changed around 8:50 a.m. when heavy rain began to fall and freeze on the roads in western Berks County.

"The roads were really getting treacherous," Grove said. "There were some accidents with other vehicles, fortunately not with any of our buses, but that was inhibiting some of our buses from getting around."

The district already had 36 buses on the roads, transporting students its two elementary schools, when drivers began reporting the slippery travel conditions.

Parents taking their kids to school ran into some travel troubles of their own.

"[We] went through a stop sign on our way here, and just kind of slid through it, and thankfully no one was at the intersection at the time. That's when we realized the roads were very slippery," said mom Trisha Long, who drove her son to Conrad Weiser East Elementary.

The district quickly instructed its bus drivers to find a safe place to park and wait for the ice on the roads to melt.

They got the all-clear to continue on their routes about 20 minutes later after salt trucks were able to cover more roads, Grove said.

The district sent a series of three alerts to parents as the situation unfolded, said Grove, adding that the first was when the buses were stopped; the second when the buses resumed travel and the third when the buses arrived at school, all of which did so without incident.

Other districts weren't so lucky. Rudy Ruth, superintendent for the Wilson School District, told 69 News that one of its buses faced a minor accident when it was sideswiped by another vehicle. Fortunately, no one was injured.