On Wednesday, February 13th, the morning after a snowstorm dropped eight inches of snow onto Washington County, Sophomore Isabel Giammusso was riding Bus U15 on her way to U32. Washington Central Supervisory Union schools were operating on two-hour delay schedule, and it was still snowing when busses were on their morning routes.
Isabel’s bus was driving down Lightning Ridge Road in Calais and took a sharp turn onto the next street. The students on the bus were already skeptical of going to school in the icy conditions, and when they saw the truck coming toward them, they were confused and scared. Within a second, the bus had collided with a logging truck. Isabel’s neck snapped back and pain ran up her back, and recalled that she “was not expecting that pain.”
After the first collision, the logging truck fell back into a ditch. Half of the truck was still on the road, and it continued to drive. The bus’s headlights shattered as the logging truck crashed into the bus a second time.
In the aftermath, Isabel was not the only student experiencing pain. Soon after the initial impact, a man from the hospital arrived at the crash site and asked the students if anyone was injured. Isabel was the only who vocalized her neck pain.
Isabel was driven in an ambulance to the hospital. “A doctor checked me out, and they said it was just whiplash.” The school paid for her ambulance and X-ray.
Isabel later found out that a person who was also on the bus had a minor concussion from the crash.
The school was not notified that Isabel had gone to the hospital. Principal Steven Dellinger-Pate only became aware of her hospital visit when Isabel’s mother called the school asking if the school would reimburse her for the family’s medical bills. He was surprised, and told her mother that “this is the first time I’m hearing of this, but I’m so sorry.”
It’s a school rule that someone from the administrative team has to accompany a student to the hospital. But after the crash, Isabel was dropped off at the hospital with no one. “I was alone in a hospital,” she said.
Isabel’s neck still hurts, but it’s feeling better with medicine and essential oils. It’s “just a little bit of a headache,” she added.