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Mason wreck injures several students

By by Erin Beck
Staff writer

SOUTHSIDE, W.Va. – Several children and a tractor trailer driver were taken to local hospitals following a wreck involving a school bus and two other vehicles in Mason County Tuesday morning.

The Mason County Sheriff’s Department reported that all injuries were minor and not life-threatening.

A tractor trailer had stopped behind a school bus that was picking kids up for school, with its loading and unloading lights on, according to a press release from the sheriff’s department.

Another tractor trailer struck that tractor trailer from behind, causing major damage to all vehicles.

The driver of the tractor trailer who failed to stop, Benjamin Charles Marshal, of Neosho, Missouri, was cited for driving too fast for roadway conditions and failure to maintain control.

The driver of the tractor trailer that was struck was taken to the hospital, along with nine children.

The accident was reported around 7:10 a.m. on U.S. 35 near the intersection of Cornstalk Road near Southside.

Mason County Commissioner Rick Handley said there have been two deaths in the last four months on the same 14.6 mile stretch of two-lane road through Mason and Putnam counties.

The span connects four-lane roads that stretch from Michigan to Florida on either side, according to Handley.

“You go from four-lanes at 70 miles an hour down to two lanes at 55 miles an hour, people used to traveling four-lanes all the time get aggravated and very impatient,” he said.

Handley said the two-lane stretch of road used to be longer, but the state added about 20 miles of four-lane road a few years ago.

He wants to see plans to widen the rest of the road into a four-lane road finished. He said state officials have told him it will probably take a public-private partnership to pay for it.

“In today’s bus crash we were very fortunate kids weren’t hurt more seriously,” he said. “We were fortunate no one died... It’s time to do something.”

The accident shut down U.S. 35 for several hours on Tuesday.

The Mason County Sheriff’s Department, Point Pleasant Fire Department and Mason County EMS responded.

The crash is still under investigation.

Reach Erin Beck at erin.beck@wvgazette.com, 304-348-5163 or follow @erinbeckwv on Twitter.


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