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Fire officials say windows broke, but no serious injuries to students onboard.

COURTESY KOIN 6 NEWS - Public works crews work to clear a fallen tree at the corner of First Avenue and Walnut Street on Thursday afternoon.Bus drivers in the Hillsboro School District were on guard this week after three separate car crashes involving Hillsboro School buses occurred on the same day.

According to Beth Graser, a spokeswoman for the district, three crashes occurred on Thursday, Jan. 11. The crashes were unrelated and in different parts of the city.

The most high profile of the crashes occured last Thursday afternoon, when a tree fell onto a bus carrying McKinney Elementary School students.

According to Bruce Montgomery, a spokesman with the Hillsboro Fire Department, about 30 students were on board a Hillsboro school bus traveling home from McKinney Elementary at about 2:49 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 11, when a tree at Southwest First Avenue and Walnut Street toppled over, knocking down power lines and crashing onto the school bus.

No serious injuries were reported in the crash, Montgomery said, but the force of the impact shattered several windows. One student had a small cut on one ear from the crash, and another received a small cut on the hand.

Both students were examined by emergency responders and released. They, and the rest of the students, were placed on a replacement school bus and taken home.

A second crash occurred last Thursday morning when a bus of Liberty High School students was struck near the intersection of Northeast Shute Road and Brookwood Parkway near Evergreen Parkway. No injuries were reported in the crash, Graser said. A third crash that afternoon involved an empty school bus near 209th and Tualatin Valley Highway.

According to Graser, the crashes at Shute Road and 209th Avenue occured because cars following the buses did not leave adequate distance on slick roads.

"Driver training and safety are the two things our Transportation department focuses on most," Graser said. "Incidents and accidents provide an opportunity to remind both staff and motorists of the importance of awareness while driving — awareness of the weather, road conditions, actions of other drivers, etc. — and of a commitment to safe driving practices."

By Geoff Pursinger
Associate Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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