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School bus, SUV collide at Lodi intersection

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Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 10:00 pm

Five special-needs children were uninjured Tuesday when the school bus they were riding in was hit by a Ford Explorer at a busy Lodi intersection.

The accident happened just after 2 p.m. at Lockeford Street and Cherokee Lane.

Four of the five occupants of the Explorer were taken to the hospital with what appeared to be minor injuries. Officers said they had cuts, bruises and minor abrasions.

Dennis Cunnington, manager of Big O Tires, didn't see the crash, but he heard it.

"There was glass exploding everywhere," he said. "We were ducking."

After colliding with the bus, the vehicle, which apparently was traveling north on Cherokee Lane, was turned the opposite direction and hit a green decorative light pole, causing the two streetlights attached to it to fall to the ground and shatter. The back window of the vehicle also broke.

Additionally, the back driver's side tire was stripped from the axle.

Cunnington said that when he walked out of his business, he saw the tire falling from the sky. It landed on a pile of new tires near the entrance to his business and bounced, finally coming to rest roughly 20 feet away.

"What if it had come through the showroom?" Cunnington said.

The spare tire, secured under the vehicle with cable, was also stripped off. It landed near the other tire.

The bus, which was headed east on Lockeford Street, skidded to a stop in the middle of the intersection. It was carrying special-needs children from Washington and Heritage Intermediate elementary schools, Lodi police said.

Although uninjured, the students had to remain on the bus while the accident was investigated.

Lodi police said the fifth occupant of the Ford Explorer was complaining of neck pain and would likely be taken to the hospital for observation.

There were three small children and two adults inside the vehicle, witnesses said. The adult woman was lying in the back seat of the vehicle, witnesses said. An unused car seat was thrown in the far back.

The conditions of the victims were unavailable Tuesday afternoon.

The accident blocked traffic for about an hour.

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