Witnesses pull children from school bus crash in Anaheim Hills

A school bus with 11 students and a driver crashed in the Anaheim Hills, leaving six people injured, officials say.
(Robert Lachman/Los Angeles Times)

Moments after a school bus crashed in the Anaheim Hills, students screamed for help as Good Samaritans rushed to free them from the wrecked vehicle, according to witnesses.

The witnesses heard a loud crack Thursday afternoon as the yellow bus smashed into trees on a grassy hill along East Nohl Ranch Road by the Anaheim Hills Golf Course.

“I saw the bus drive up and fly up and crash,” said Michelle Imperial, who was driving in the opposite direction. She said she pulled over and called 911 as children screamed: “Help me! Come help me!”


The bus from El Rancho Charter School, a middle school in the Anaheim Hills, was carrying the driver and 11 students.

Two of the students were critically injured and three others had minor injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The injuries to the students did not appear to be life-threatening, fire officials said.

The driver also had critical injuries but was conscious. The six remaining students were released at the scene to family or friends, the CHP said.

Anaheim Hills resident Claudia Matten also said he head a loud crack as she walked along the roadway and saw the bus come to a stop amid the trees.

The driver’s head was leaning out the window, and he wasn’t moving, Matten recalled.

She ran toward the bus as the children were screaming.

Some children escaped out an emergency door on the right side of the vehicle, Matten said. She and several other witnesses helped the students as they exited the bus.

“They were crying, saying, ‘I’m hurt. Help me!,” Matten said.

Some of the students had scrapes and bruises on their heads, Matten said. Others complained of neck pain.

She said that one girl’s toes were scraped and bleeding. A boy was stuck in the bus and had to removed by a man who rushed inside and carried him out.

The driver had to be rescued from the bus by firefighters. He has been a full-time driver with the Orange Unified School District since October 2010, officials said. His name and age were not released.

The bus was coming from an after-school activity, district officials said in a statement.

The cause of the accident was being investigated by the CHP.