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Local News in Brief : Fountain Valley : 12 Children Hurt When Car Hits School Bus

A 1976 Pontiac Bonneville collided with a school bus Wednesday morning, slightly injuring 12 elementary school children and three adults, authorities said.

The accident occurred about 8 a.m., when Tomas Velardez of Santa Ana ran a red light and plowed into the left side of the bus as it was turning left from northbound Newhope Street to westbound Warner Avenue, California Highway Patrol Officer R.C. Hoffpauer said. The bus, which holds 78 passengers, was nearly full.

Velardez was traveling between 50 and 55 m.p.h. in a posted 45-m.p.h. zone when he ran the light, which had been red for about five seconds, according to police.

The bus driver, Irene Trejo of Westminster, Velardez and an adult passenger in his car were taken to Fountain Valley Hospital & Regional Medical Center with injuries, Hoffpauer said.

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Twelve children, who were on their way to Mamie L. Northcutt Elementary School in Fountain Valley, also were taken to the hospital for minor cuts and bruises. Another bus arrived later and transported the uninjured children to school.

“It looks a lot worse than what it actually is. They made those old school buses pretty darn solid,” Hoffpauer said of the 1969 bus.

He said the accident is still under investigation.


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