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Local News

School Bus Accident Injures 11 Near Santa Maria

Most injuries were minor, but 4 people were sent to the hospital after crash in Sisquoc

This farm vehicle was involved in a collision with a school bus that injured 11 people Wednesday near Santa Maria. (Ophelia Young / KEYT News photo)

A school-bus accident Wednesday near Sisquoc injured 11 people and sent four patients to the hospital, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The collision involving a bus carrying Righetti High School students and a large farm vehicle occurred shortly after 7 a.m. at Foxen Canyon Road and Orcutt-Gary Road east of Santa Maria, said fire Capt. David Sadecki.

Initial reports indicated 21 people were hurt, but that figure was revised downward, Sadecki said, after it was determined that some bystanders had been counted.

Most of those hurt suffered only minor injuries and were treated at the scene, Sadecki said.

However, four people were taken to Marian Regional Medical Center, one with major injuries and the others with minor injuries.

The accident occurred as the bus, driven by Yolanda Zepeda, 44, of Santa Maria, was northbound on Foxen Canyon, and the farm vehicle, driven by Hugo Medina, 25, of Santa Maria, was southbound, said CHP Officer Craig Carrier.

As the two vehicles passed, an arm on the farm vehicle used to spray fertilizer slammed into the front of the bus, injuring Zepeda and causing her to lose consciousness, Carrier said.

The bus continued northbound, up one embankment and down another, before coming to rest after striking a wooden fence and a tree, Carrier said.

Zepeda had to be extricated from the wreckage, which took about an hour, Sadecki said.

She suffered major injuries, but details of her injuries and condition were not available, Carrier said.

The other three victims were teenage girls who suffered minor injuries, Carrier said.

Medina was not injured.

Medina was not arrested or cited, but the incident remained under investigation by the California Highway Patrol, Carrier said, adding that alcohol and drugs are not suspected in the crash.

Most of the students on the bus eventually were either taken to school or released to their parents, Sadecki said.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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