PLYMOUTH, Maine — A veteran school bus driver for RSU 19 apparently did not see the pickup truck driven by local resident Bob Emrich, chairman of the Christian Civic League of Maine, when she turned and struck his vehicle on Monday, officials said.
“It was very minor,” Superintendent William P. Braun said Wednesday of the collision, which damaged the bus’s bumper and ripped off its driver’s side mirror.
Emrich was taken by ambulance to Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield and released later that day, he said Wednesday.
“My shoulder, side, back and neck and my head — everything hurt,” he said.
Two days after the collision, “I’m stiff and sore and that sort of thing. I’ve got one little cut on my arm, which is a miracle since it [the impact of the bus] flipped my truck all the way around.”
Emrich was driving his 2000 blue Ford pickup truck north on Moosehead Trail, also known as Route 7, about 3:35 p.m. Monday when he approached the junction with Sawyer Road and was struck by the bus, which was turning onto Route 7, Sgt. Scott Hamilton of the Maine State Police said Wednesday.
Emrich had the right of way and was hit by school bus driver Nanci Foster, who was traveling with four children, the sergeant said.
“She failed to yield to the right of way,” Hamilton said. “She didn’t see him.”
No one on the bus was injured and no charges are pending, Hamilton said. The driver’s-side rear of Emrich’s vehicle was damaged, he said.
“It ran into the side of my truck,” Emrich said. “I couldn’t avoid it.”
His truck, which has a broken wheel and smashed side windows, is damaged beyond repair, he said.
Foster had been driving bus for more than a decade without an incident before this, Braun said.
“Nobody was injured, shaken up or anything else,” the superintendent said of the bus passengers. “Another bus was called in to take the children home” because the first bus couldn’t be moved until the accident investigation was complete.
“It was just a little fender bender,” he said. “In fact, we haven’t had much more than a fender bender in the 18 years since I’ve been here.”
Emrich canceled his plans to travel out of state after the collision, according to the Maine Family Policy Council, which posted a “Christian Civic League Prayer Alert” on Monday.
“Due to the trauma of the accident, Bob will not be able to speak at the Watchmen on the Wall Conference in Washington, DC,” the alert said. “Please pray that he will quickly return in strength to his family, his church, the Christian Civic League, and Protect Marriage Maine.”
Since the accident, people that Emrich has run into have had the same basic questions.
“Everybody asked two questions — was I texting and did I have my seat belt on,” he said. “I wasn’t texting and I did have my seat belt on.”