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School bus colliision injures 1, ties up traffic

A woman has been hospitalized as a result of an accident between a school bus and a sedan in Avau, which caused traffic to be backed up for almost two hours Thursday morning. The traffic was backed up in Tafuna area as far as the Fagaima road, and in Nuuuli as far back as ANZ/Amerika Samoa bank. On the main road, it was backed up as far as the college due to the early hour, when people were heading into work.Police are now investigating what caused the accident, says Ta’aloloioufaiva Captain John Cendrowski who heads the Traffic Division of the Department of Public Safety.He said the school bus which had 20+students on board was heading westbound while the white sedan was heading into the town area when they collided. Capt. Cendrowski said the bus driver claims the white sedan was coming onto his lane and that’s when the incident occurred.However a parent whose child was on the school bus involved said the bus driver fell asleep at the wheel. He said the students were transferred to another school bus to head to school because the bus was in un-operational status following the accident.The left tires of the bus had to be replaced along with rims because they were bent inwards, while the white Sedan’s front left side was smashed along with the door of the driver’s side.The woman was taken by the Emergency Medical Services for treatment, but she was conscious when the police arrived at the scene. The DPS captain said that they will be conducting interviews to determine what actually occurred.Another issue that was raised during the long traffic jam was that a lawmaker was escorted by traffic police officers. One man said he was stuck in traffic when a red truck was escorted by a police officer on a motorcycle. “This was unfair, the Chief Justice and the Associate Justice were all stuck in traffic yet this lawmaker can pass all the vehicles that are stuck in traffic,” said the disappointed man.Capt Cendrowski responded to queries from Samoa News, saying that by law the lawmakers can be escorted by police when stuck in traffic when they are in session. He said there is no law about escorting members of the public by police officers, however if there is an emergency type of situation, they can offer an escort.“But if you’re late for your flight, sorry that is not an escort and if you speed because you are late, you will be cited because that is not an emergency,” he said. Samoa News understands that there was a confirmation hearing for one of the directors scheduled at 8:30 a.m., in the House of Representatives Thursday morning.Education Department director Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau, who was also stuck in traffic due to the accident, told Samoa News that, “We are still looking into the accident” and will release any information as soon as it can be verified.