First responder recalls Lee High bus crash - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

First responder recalls Lee High bus crash

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By Trang Do - bio | email

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - First responders were also hit hard by the Lee High School bus crash. Many of them still dealing with it today.

Huntsville's chief paramedic Don Webster says training prepared them physically for this crash - but mentally, this is still tough to deal with.

First responders prepare, practice, and do regular drills for the possibility of responding to widespread devastation.

On November 20, 2006, those practices were put to action as the Lee High School bus 5037 plunged off an overpass.

"It was a catastrophic disaster here in the city of Huntsville that day," Webster recalled.

Even after multiple 9-1-1 calls came in about a school bus full of students going over an I-565 overpass, it was still unbelievable.

"With that kind of drop, we knew that we were going to have serious injuries and potential fatalities."

Webster was one of the first to arrive to the gravel area beside Clinton Street, where the bus landed nose first.

"Anytime you have a young person involved in a traumatic situation, it's emotional, but then when you have a busload of young adults it is very traumatic."

All 40 students on the bus, the bus driver and the two people in the car that collided with the bus, were transported to area hospitals in less than an hour. Webster say it was exactly 48 minutes.

It was the first time our local metropolitan medical response system was tested in a real life situation. It's a situation Webster says he hopes they never have to experience again.

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