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34 students sent to hospital when car crashes head-on into school bus in Canterbury

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CANTERBURY -- Thirty-four high school students were sent to the hospital when a car crashed head-on into their school bus in Canterbury.

The students, the bus driver and the driver of the car suffered injuries from the crash, according to police. Authorities said four ambulances responded to the crash at about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Canterbury First Selectman Roy Piper, who is also a volunteer firefighter, said he responded to the scene and said that the students aboard the bus were headed to both Griswold High School also Norwich Technical High School.

He said the jaws of life were used to extricate the driver of the car, Justin Rice, 30, of Ledyard, who was taken to Hartford Hospital with serious injuries.

All the students and the bus driver were treated and released at Backus Hospital. Piper said the driver of the bus, Patricia Avery, 59, of Moosup is OK and that she has been working for the town for a while. Piper said the town owns their own buses.

Connecticut State Police said Route 169, also known as South Canterbury Road, was closed near Bennett Pond Road due to the crash. The road was since reopened. They said a 2014 Cadillac driven by Rice was headed south on Route 169 and crossed the centerline before hitting the bus.

The cause remains under investigation.


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