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Counseling Offered for Students Affected by Fatal Bus Accident on Fischer Boulevard

34 students on Toms River school bus when it collided with pickup truck on Fischer near Yellowbank.

 

Though Toms River Regional Schools are closed today for Good Friday, the district shortly after yesterday's school bus accident on Fischer Boulevard posted a series of counseling options for those affected by the crash.

Toms River Regional is offering support to the families involved and has three resources available, according to a statement: "Any parent whose child was riding in BUS 101 and feels their child is in need of counseling services, please contact the following resources: TLC (732) 773- 8007; Pess (732) 886-4474; Mobile Resources (1877) 652-7624."

Schools reopen April 16, when the spring break ends.

of 34 students from Intermediate East was traveling south on Fischer Boulevard around 2:30 p.m., when, police said, a pick-up northbound made a left onto Yellowbank Road.

The collision was fatal to the pickup driver, Thomas Grouss, a 60-year-old Toms River resident. The truck was crushed as the bus drove onto Ruby Road, which runs parallel to Fischer Boulevard, and took out a traffic light and shuttering southbound traffic.

launched multiple emergency responders, with ambulances from Island Heights, Tri-Boro, Silverton and Toms River Police EMS. The bus was evacuated, with 11 students and the bus driver transported to Community Medical Center for "very minor" injuries, said Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy.

At Community Medical Center, the emergency department is prepared for situations such as what happened yesterday, said Teri Kubiel, administrative director of emergency services and nursing education at the hospital.

"It's really a coordinated effort between the first response team at the scene and the emergency department to create a seamless response," Kubiel said. The commanding officer on the scene communicates with the emergency department about the number of patients and the extent of injuries, so the department is prepared for what's coming in.

In addition, the hospital is in communication with those transporting patients to the hospital, updating them on the conditions en route, she said.

"Sometimes conditions (of patients) do change," she said.

The response team at the hospital includes other departments, such as radiology and the laboratory, as well as the patient support staff to assist the families of the patients, she said.

Yesterday, the school district contributed to that support effort, sending Intermediate East prinicipal Bryan Madigan and assistant superintendent Debbie McKenna to the hospital to answer questions for parents.

"That provided additional reassurance to the parents and the patients," Kubiel said, noting Madigan and McKenna remained at the hospital until all of the patients from the school bus had been treated and released. "I greatly appreciate their support in being here and being able to answer many of the questions for the parents."

The hospital has had to deal with a large influx of patients before, Kubiel said, most notably when there have been bus accidents on the Garden State Parkway, and the coordination between the emergency personnel on the scene and the hospital is what makes the effort to meet all the needs of the patients so seamless.

Yesterday, the 11 students -- nine of whom came by ambulance and two who were brought in by their parents -- and the bus driver all were treated and released in about two hours, she said.

The hospital, which completed expansion of the emergency department a few years ago, has 82 patient treatment rooms in the 52,000-square-foot emergency department, one of the largest on the East Coast, Kubiel said. They see an average of  260 to 330 patients per day, with higher volumes in the summer, she said.

"It takes a team to make that (coordinated response) happen," she said, "and we're very privileged to have the experienced staff to respond to those situations."

Rachel Tomasi April 07, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Great job to Mr Madigan and the staff that stayed at the hospital until the kids all were released. I hope those in need take advantage of the counseling. Im not involved beyond my daughters friends had friends on 101, live right down the rd and my kids travel that way daily at the same time approx and im still stunned. I cant imagine how those kids who saw all that feel, the bus driver etc.
Lynn April 07, 2012 at 12:52 PM
I have one thing to say from all comments about this serious accident. My kids ride bus as the late bus from Intermediaite East. My daughter was on the bus in front of 101 as she came early and thankfully did not have to watch this happen. A few of my children's friends were on the bus involved in the accident.This has caused some trama among all the students and fears now . At least we have time as Spring Break is now among us. The truck driver passed. My deepest condolences to the family. Will this be another wait and see how many more fatalities before something is done or make this the same as Bay by Rite Aid. Left Arrow Green Turn Only. Fischer Blvd. has had way too many falalties. Pedestrians included. !!!!!!! Put up a new light ad an arrow sign left on green arrow only.
cindy April 07, 2012 at 01:28 PM
I know this is only one busy road amongst many but why not use speed bumps aong that road. The police would not have to waste valuable time sitting on the side of the street clocking motorists and can be other places where needed. Speed bumps do work, we have them where I live and no cars, buses or trucks can get up speed long enough to have an accident. Forces you to slow down.........
Can't shut me up April 08, 2012 at 03:26 AM
@Cindy....Speed bumps on Fischer Blvd....Get real, stupid comment!
Patti Smith April 08, 2012 at 08:19 PM
mammamia Really,,speed bumps on Fischer..never ...too much traffic esp for summer omg...what a nightmare...ppl should be more careful of there surroundings and slow the hell down on that road its no a raceway...ppl are now being hurt and killed ..awful...just slow the hell down....

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