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Only minor injuries reported after South Jefferson school bus rolls over

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Minor injuries were reported after a small school bus with two children aboard overturned Monday afternoon while heading south on Interstate 81 in the town of Watertown.

The South Jefferson Central School District bus went off the highway about 3:55 p.m. after being hit from behind by a 2008 Saab sedan, which police said was being driven at a potentially unsafe speed. The bus was pushed to the right off of the road, before spinning around and rolling onto its left side near the tree line.

Besides the driver and two students, a transportation aide was on the bus. The students, each listed as about 10 years old, and the driver were taken to Samaritan Medical Center for treatment, according to police.

State police Sgt. Brian R. McDermott praised the bus driver for ensuring that the students were wearing their seat belts.

“I’m sure that prevented any injuries,” Sgt. McDermott said.

Both the front and rear bumper of the bus were partially torn off, while portions of the left side of the bus were mangled, with tufts of grass protruding from the undercarriage.

Traffic was moved to one lane as crews cleared vehicles from the scene.

The male driver of the Saab, who was not identified, could be seen visibly shaken at the scene. Sgt. McDermott said an investigation was ongoing to determine whether he would face any criminal charges.

School Superintendent Jamie A. Moesel said the bus was taking the two students home, and added that she was glad the situation wasn’t worse.

“It’s absolutely one of the worst calls you can get as a superintendent,” she said.

In addition to the state police, the town of Watertown Fire Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and Guilfoyle Ambulance responded.

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