11/23/2018 10:47:00 AM 'Great effort' by driver to keep bus from tipping
A deer in the road led to a scary ride for seven Palestine students and a bus driver on Monday afternoon. About 3:53 p.m. Mary J. Williamson, no age listed, Robinson, was driving students home for the day when she swerved to miss a deer on 1500E, just south of 700N near Flat Rock. The bus swerved into an east side ditch and nearly tipped over, but Williamsonís efforts prevented that from happening. Crawford County Sheriff Bill Rutan said that no serious injuries were reported. Williamson and two students were taken to Crawford Memorial Hospital for treatment by a United Life Care ambulance. (Blake Nash photo)
The Palestine Unit 3 board met in regular session Tuesday night, despite the absence of the district's two principals. High-school principal Tangi Waldrop and grade-school principal Jessica Sisil were unable to attend because of an incident that happened earlier in the day.
About 4 p.m. one of the district's buses was involved in an accident while returning students home. Superintendent Chris Long informed the board and those in attendance that a deer was the cause of the accident.
Long said the driver, Mary Williamson, was driving on 1500E, south of 700N when she swerved to miss a deer. The vehicle skidded into a ditch and nearly tipped over, but was prevented by the "great effort" of Williamson.
Crawford County Dispatch was called about the accident and sent at least two United Life Care ambulances to the scene, as well as Crawford County Sheriff's Office.
Long said that there were not any serious injuries reported, which was confirmed by Sheriff Bill Rutan.
"There were some injuries but nothing serious, just scrapes and bruises," Long said.
A total of eight people were on the bus, including Williamson. Both her and three students were taken to Crawford Memorial Hospital, however the reports of the injuries were not released because of HIPAA regulations.
Long acknowledged Williamson's resolve following the accident, saying that she wouldn't leave the bus to be checked for injuries until she made sure the students were taken care of.
"She did an outstanding job to keep that bus from tipping over," Long said.
Waldrop, Sisil and Long arrived at the scene as well, and helped with the contacting of parents and getting the children home. Both Waldrop and Sisil were checking on victims at the hospital when the meeting took place.
All parents were contacted and the children were checked by medical professionals.
The meeting began with a parent's concern regarding one of the districts co-op athletic programs. A statement was read to the board, and since it involved students and personnel, the board decided to address the issue in closed session.
In other business the board approved the tentative tax levy for 2018. Long told the board that a truth in taxation hearing will not be necessary since the levy will not exceed the 5 percent threshold.
"The tax levy rate went down 7 cents," Long said. The district financially seems to be doing all right."
It was also announced that the district's total fund balance for the year was $1,656,074.
Graduation will soon upon various students in the district, and last night the board approved the spring's graduation dates. Palestine High School's graduation will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 18, while Palestine Grade School's will be at 7 p.m. Monday, May 20.
While all details are yet to be set, progress is being moved forward for the upcoming fitness center at Palestine High School. Southern Illinois Security Systems will be installing a FOB system at the school on Tuesday, Nov. 27. This will take place on the east door facing the parking lot and not the school's weight room. A security gate will also allow faculty to enter the building at the entrance.
Those who purchase a FOB key will have access to the weight room and gym on the left of the entrance. Long said that a refrigerator will be added, and water will be available for customers. The center will contain weight machines and other equipment, and customers will also be allowed to shoot basketballs in the gym. The center is also air conditioned and a television will be of use.
"I'm kind of excited about it," Long said.
At this time the fee and hours have yet to be set. However the user will need to sign for liability when purchasing membership.
In closed door session the board agreed to employ Katie Craig as junior high track coach, Tyrone McQuide as a substitute bus driver and Deborah Brooks as full-time school nurse.
The board is planning on meeting Thursday-December 13, instead of Monday, Dec. 17.