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Bus yard accident leaves employees shaken

Co-workers rush to aid injured mechanic

A school bus mechanic who was rolled over by a bus he was working on April 27 remained in serious condition early this week following surgery for broken ribs and a punctured lung in a Fresno hospital.

Horrified bus drivers and mechanics rushed to the aid of their co-worker after the school bus on which he had been working accidentally rolled on top of him.

The unidentified Madera Unified mechanic was working under the bus when it suddenly lurched forward pinning him under the right front wheel.

School district officials, in an attempt to preserve the privacy of the victim, have been guarded in releasing information about the accident.

In a press release issued the morning of the accident, a district spokesperson reported, “On Thursday, April 27, at approximately 6 a.m., an accident occurred in our transportation yard. One employee suffered injuries, which required first responders to transport the employee to the hospital. Out of respect for the employee’s family, Madera Unified is unable to release personal details at this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with our employee and the family as we hope for a full recovery.”

On Saturday, a highly reliable and knowledgeable source from another school district, on the condition of anonymity, gave the Tribune some of the reported details of the accident.

According to the outside source, the accident occurred when two mechanics were working on the brake system of a Madera bus. One mechanic was under the bus working in front of the right wheel. The other mechanic was inside the bus. The engine was running, and the bus was in gear, according to the source.

The mechanic on the ground released the brake in front of the bus, and it rolled on top of him. According to the source, several bus drivers who were standing nearby witnessed the accident. They immediately ran to give aid to the injured mechanic.

The severely injured man was taken to the hospital with several broken ribs and a punctured lung. According to the source, an operation was performed on Thursday and a second one was scheduled for Friday.

There was no information given regarding the injured man’s condition.

According to the source, after freeing their co-worker and providing first aid, the shock of witnessing such a horrific accident set in among many of the drivers.

The school district allowed as many who needed it to leave work and go home. Approximately 15 grief counselors were dispatched to Madera’s transportation department to assist those who had witnessed the accident.

Shortly after the accident, some Madera schools were notified that buses would be delayed, and other Valley school districts sent offers of assistance. Central Unified sent two buses with drivers to assist Madera in transporting students on Thursday and two buses on Friday.

It was reported that Visalia Unified also assisted by sending buses to Madera.

An emotional Todd Lile, Madera Unified’s interim superintendent, underscored the strong bond that exists among the transportation staff as well as its determination to meet the challenge posed by the accident.

Lile praised the actions of the employees who were present at the accident and rallied around their injured co-worker to support him and his family. He also underscored their determination to “carry on with the mission of the district to see that its children are transported safely to and from school.”


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