Three separate crashes involving Harford County school buses were reported Friday morning, each attributed to winter weather.
The Harford County Sheriff’s Office received more than 20 calls for service between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. Friday morning, according to spokeswoman Monica Worrell, when a passing snow squall resulted in light accumulation and slick roads throughout the area. But Worrell said none resulted in major injuries.
Three incidents, two in Bel Air and one in Havre de Grace, involved school buses. In two cases, students were present on the bus at the time of the accident. All three accidents were blamed on weather-related errors made by the driver of the other vehicle or vehicles involved, rather than the school bus driver, Worrell said.
The first accident occurred at 6:48 a.m. at the intersection of Route 1 and E. Broadway in Bel Air. No children were present on the bus at the time of the accident, and no injuries were reported.
Another incident occurred at 7:02 a.m. at the intersection of Route 155 and Paradise Road in Havre de Grace. Students were present on the bus, but no injuries were reported.
The third crash happened at about 7:14 a.m. when a car slid under the back of a school bus at the intersection of Treadmore Road and Churchville Road in Bel Air. Students were present on the bus at the time, but no injuries were reported.
Further details on the cause and nature of the crashes was not immediately available Friday afternoon, Worrell said.
Harford County schools opened on time Friday, while Baltimore County, Carroll County, and Howard County schools all opened two hours late.
Harford County Public Schools spokeswoman Teri Kranefeld said the decision to open, delay, or close the county’s schools is made “with the best available information” and in consultation with local agencies.
Harford County Public Schools has a set process for monitoring weather conditions, physically assessing road conditions, and communicating with local and state agencies to make decisions regarding the school system operating schedule during inclement weather events. Weather and temperature forecasts are also closely monitored using “Accuweather” and other sources of information. The decision is made based on the conditions observed and the best available information at that time. When conditions change rapidly, once the decision is made to open school, we expect that all of our bus drivers and the motoring public exercise caution appropriate for the weather conditions.
Who ever is making these decsions needs to go. And idiot could have told you the roads were terrible. But I suppose this is what happens when you get morons in charge of a school system.
David A. Porter says
Anytime you wake up and get out of bed there is risk. Since the school bus drivers were not at fault for any of these incidents, you could construe that they knew how to drive and to do it safely. As for the rest of the populace, maybe they should sleep in until it’s safe for them to venture onto the roads when you get a dusting of snow. Snow happens, learn how to deal with it or hide under your covers and wait for Spring.
Thats the general point of a two hour delay. Let the people who have to be out and go to work at 7 am get there, and let the kids go in later. Let’s think about the children. We are just lucky no children were injured!!!
There was at least one more bus accident (with children on-board) at the intersection of Rolling Road and 136 in Churchville.
I hate to say it but the busses did not cause the accidents this morning. Even the non bus ones would have happened if schools delayed. See I saw all sorts of idiots not excercising caution or following traffic laws. Shoulders used as lanes by people to much in a hurry to wait. Turn lanes in the center used as a travel lane.
I’m sure there would have still been plenty of accidents if the schools were closed today. The point is that when conditions are that bad, they shouldn’t have us put our children on school busses to go out into that danger.
I agree this morning was a bad call. As a public though we are very inconsistant in our message. It is darned if you do close and doarned if you don’t. They get calls like crazy and second guessed all the time.
David A. Porter says
I think you nailed it CDEV. Over a year ago a young lady was texting me on her way to work. I told her not to text. This was not the first time I’ve told her not to text while driving. So about two hours later I get a frantic call on a private line while I’m in a meeting. I pick up the phone and tell her I can’t talk now. And she blurts out that she got into an accident and totalled her brand new Equinox. Apparently she ran into the back of a flatbed truck on Harford Road – while she was texting. A few days later she told me she has flashbacks but this time with her kids in the car. That didn’t last long, she continues to text and drive to this day and recently had her license suspended (again) for driving 80 mph on MD 43.
Brian Goodman says
How Should Harford County Public Schools Decide Whether to Open, Delay, or Close Schools During Winter Weather?
The least they could have done was to shovel the sidewalks at the schools before staff and students arrived.
this is how it is says
The chief Custodian arrives at the school at aprox 630 am your right the sidewalks should be shoveled, remember there is usally one person at an elementary school in the morning, more at a middle and high school, however at the elementary school level the Chief does the best that they can to prevent accidents, if there is a problem with your school talk to the administrator reguarding sidewalks
You do know some teachers get there when they arrive?
Opening on time was idiotic, at best. This event was well forecasted. The details has been circulated for atleast 35 hours before the snowfall began. The roads in Harford county were not pretreated so the slick, dangerous conditions were unavoidable.
The school system made yet ANOTHER unsafe decision. In October, the children were driven through flooded roads when a MAJOR storm was predicted and the state of travel, DANGEROUS travel, was forecasted.
The decision to open, delay or close rests with two parties: the HCPS Department of Transportation and the Superintendent. Both parties have repeatedly failed this year. Next week is looking to be questionable. I hope these two failures have created opportunities for these two to LEARN FOR THEIR MISTAKES and consider the childrens safety first. I’ll go to school for an extra few days in the summer if the dangerous bus rises don’t KILL us first!
The decision to open on time Friday, with the conditions being what they were, was very poor. Yes, accidents would have still happened on Harford County roads even if schools were delayed, so many people freak out & don’t know how to drive in the snow, but why were over 40,000 kids put @ risk? Someone shuld be held accountable for such an idiotic, poor decision. In the real world, if someone screwed up like this & that most of us reside in, someone would have been held accountable, disciplined & possibly terminated. I too sent an e mail to HCPS, asking who was responsible for such poor decision making, who they consult for their weather information, why they would put kids @ risk needlessly. I also asked if the Superintendent still resided outside the county, last I heard he was still living in Timonium, Baltimore County. I received the same answer as the Dagger has posted, so I’m guessing they just replied to everyone w/ the same form letter, w/o really answering questions. Why would you count on/use Accuweather as your weather source? They are not located locally, they are in State College, PA. I asked why they didn’t watch/lisaten to Justin Berk @ ABC2, he was calling for this storm to do what it did Thursday. As far as conditions changing rapidly, again, Justin Berk kept saying what happened was going to happen Friday morning. Other local school districts used the common sense to delay opening to allow the rush hour to clear & the roads to improve before putting their kids in harms way. It’s not about the amount of snow received but the timing. As far as conditions changing rapidly, how can you make that statement when local weather forecasters were calling for this to happen. Basically what HCPS has decided they will circle the wagons & wait for this to blow over w/o saying “We screwed up”. No one will be held accountable & nothing will change. They will continue to make poor decisions & pretend as if nothing is wrong. Sadly, a child or children will have to be hurt before they finally decide to use common sense & err on the side of safety. This explains why we have the mess that is known as school redistricting going on. These same people are in charge & have created that mess too!
not to mention almost every county in the STATE was delayed…..I wrote to the board to after I was driving to work at 6:15 and saw 1 accident and slid a few times – almost into an intersection. I was livid – I got the same blanket statement – I love how they say they are relaying on the motoring public to use caution…hahahahahahahahahahahaha………thats a joke!!! People dont stop for the stop sign on the bus when the kids are getting dropped off, so you think driving on slick roads is going to make things better…WOW!!! I am so done with this administration – thats why I am getting new degreeeeeeeeeeee
an angry commuter. says
The perhaps if the school system wouldn’t put the rolling roadblocks that we calls school busses on major highways (rt 40 155 and 22 and 24) while people are commuting. People wouldnt ignore the stop sign on the side of the bus.
Maybe stop the nonsense of picking each child up in front of thier home and put a designated stop for all schools a maximum 2 miles from each neighborhood and use the buses efficiently.
Frequently when driving down 40 between HDG and Aberdeen I’ve counted the buses stoping to pick up and drop off 1 or 2 kids. 6 stops in less than 5 miles. Why are they blocking a major highway 6 times instead of consolidating the stops saving the tax payers money AND causing less traffic congestion.
You are so right.
Who could blame commuters for not stopping when they see the stop sign on the school bus? Geez, doesn’t the school system know that these people are in a hurry to get to work?
Of course, it makes one wonder that if commuters can’t see or be bothered to stop for a 10′ tall, 8′ wide, 40′ long bright yellow school bus with a big red stop sign sticking out of its side, how well would they see a 4’6″ 84 pound 12 year old girl.
But no matter! The school system should have no qualms about having school aged children walk a mile or two to the school bus, especially on a busy road like Route 40 or 155. And if it causes the death of a handful of kids, hey, as long as it saves some tax dollars and some commuter time, well, that’s the way it goes. The school system needs to get their priorities straight!
Jerry Cullum says
Since when does anyone believe the weathermen/women? We all cry and moan when they are not right with the weather.
Question for the bus drivers, when are you notified of a delay, closing? If the system goes out at 430am and everything is ok, and then conditions change at 7am is it to late to cancel or delay? When is the first kid picked up?
Not trying to defend the school system, but you get to a point that if you already have kids on the bus what do you do with them?
The buses were rolling off the lots right around the time the snow started (if not before.)
They start looking at road conditions, radar, forecasts, etc at about 3 am and have to make a decision (I’m not sure when the call has to be made by, but I think it’s 0430.) HCPS transportation always calls the sheriff’s office around 0330 for a road check (for both ends of the county) and if it looks iffy a transportation supervisor will go out and check the roads personally.
In hindsight they should’ve delayed school by 2 hrs, but they have to make the decision based on the best information available at the time. The decision is ultimately Tomback’s. The transportation supervisors just give him their recommendation and he decides what happens.
Does the HCPS leadership realize that delaying the opening of school (2 hours) would allow the regular rush hour traffic to get to work before putting 40,000+ more people on the road? It’s not just a matter of people being more cautious, it’s also the number of people on the roads. It just seems to me that if you allow the business publc to get to work, then put the school students/teachers/staff on the roads later, there would be less congestion (and therefore. lower possibility of accidents). A later start would also adequately allow the school maintenance staff to clear sidewalks and prepare the buildings for the day. I know I’m just a mom of two HCPS students, but I think common sense is lacking in HCPS leadership and it really frustrates me. Are our concerns ever heard?
Mommie Dearest says
Whoever is making these decisions obviously never heard the adage “err on the side of caution”.
Maybe we should demand that school closes during the winter and opens during the summer months when there is less chance of snow.
Do you have kids that attend HCPS? Wouldn’t you be worried for them?
Nanny State. says
Some parents have jobs that aren’t as forgiving as others when it comes to frequent lateness. Not everyone family has a stay-at-home parent or the resources to deal with knee-jerk closings. With that many buses on the road every day I’m sure that there are accidents when it rains too! Heavy rain = no school??? Parks & rec closed today and as of 1:30 when most would have been long gone there was NO SNOW. Even if it had snowed 1-2 inches as they were calling for would it really be necessary to close? Can we make these decisions for ourselves? On Friday, Janitorial staff should have had plenty of time to get in and shovel the dusting from the sidewalks even before the Y opened. If not the “HEAD CUSTODIAN” should take custody and ownership of the school’s safety and get there early and do a little work. We aren’t talking about anything more than a 1/2 job for one person to shovel the 1/8 of an inch on the main entrance walkway. If the main walk wasn’t clear when you arrived you should have words with your principal about custodians being accountable. If you were coming in another door that the buses don’t drop off to then suck it up and wipe your feet before you come into the building or some nut-bag will sue us all for slippery floors.
Nanny State. says
Some parents have jobs that aren’t as forgiving as others when it comes to frequent lateness. Not everyone family has a stay-at-home parent or the resources to deal with knee-jerk closings. With that many buses on the road every day I’m sure that there are accidents when it rains too! Heavy rain = no school??? Parks & rec closed today and as of 1:30 when most would have been long gone there was NO SNOW. Even if it had snowed 1-2 inches as they were calling for would it really be necessary to close? Can we make these decisions for ourselves? On Friday, Janitorial staff should have had plenty of time to get in and shovel the dusting from the sidewalks even before the Y opened. If not the “HEAD CUSTODIAN” should take custody and ownership of the school’s safety and get there early and do a little work. We aren’t talking about anything more than a 1/2 of a job for one person to shovel the 1/8 of an inch on the main entrance walkway. If the main walk wasn’t clear when you arrived you should have words with your principal about custodians being accountable. If you were coming in another door that the buses don’t drop off to then suck it up and wipe your feet before you come into the building or some nut-bag will sue us all for slippery floors.
Ok, but what if the custodians also have children they need to take care of in the morning and can’t leave alone? Maybe you as a citizen can volunteer to come in and shovel snow from the school sidewalks so that your children can be safe.
It never ceases to amaze me the demands that people put on others that they would never tolerate being put on themselves.
I think I pay enough in taxes to expect the schools sidewalks and parking lots to be cleared upon children being dropped off.
Not really you pay far less then other jurisdictions!
Either way.Expecting people to do the job they were hired to do is not expecting too much.
this is how it is says
traci usally the elementary schools have One custodian in the morning, they open the building, unlock doors check the boilers, and prepare the school for opening, the sidewalks should be salted, and entrance ways should be clear, but remember that this is one person salting shoveling or using a tractor with a plow to push snow around, The admin and Chief Custodian should make a decesion based on the school size meaning the amount of grounds thats involved, sidewalks, fire exits, parking lot size, and if it is the school is ready to open on time. The Chief Custodian has nothing to do with the roadways, this is city, county, or state road or highways crews, The Custodian salts, shovels, and moves snow off of fire exits, and mostly steps, and sidewalks, sometimes the roof if massive amounts of snow are on the roof, then does a walk through of the building to see if there is any structure damage. For the most part they do the best they can. If you have a problem with your particualr school speak to the administrator, find out whats going on, are they short staffed, is there not enough time to get the job done, is this a board of education issue? is this a highways issue? you can always go and help the custodian shovel snow. Imagine you shoveling over 1000 feet of snow, and or plowing snow with a small garden tractor salting every square inch of sidewalk with a small lawn spreader.
HCPS Volunteer says
I feel the same way……Peaople always insist other people go out of their way for them and never do for others.
HCPS Volunteer says
Sorry for the spelling mistake. I meant to write people
Barkin up the wrong tree ya jackwagon. I have and do still do the custodians job. How many hours have you volunteered? Or do you just sit at home and run your mouth???
I elect you to come do all the shoveling next time:):):):):)
You have no idea – and it sounds to me you think of school as a babysitting service…AMAZING!!!! Its obvious you put your job/career before your family.
The custodial staff at my elementary school does a wonderful job whenever there is snow, mostly because we have a staff who will help out and because our cheif custodian gets there at 530.
I am just bothered how you are so easy to judge when you have NO IDEA obvioulsy what goes in to being a custodian or working in a school…..
Go Steelers! says
Hey teach. That movie you dumped your kids in front of is just about over. Better finish up texting your friends.
Are you serious……..I think I have shown one movie in the past two months……and it was a thirty minute movie about what we were learning…….I do not get to show movies to my class of five year olds….instead I spend all but two hours of the day teaching thank you very much……….u have no idea
I dont think anyone is calling for the schools to be closed. There definatly was not enough for that. Where HC dropped the ball was clearing the roads. Call a delay and take an extra 2hrs to get the roads cleaned and salted. No need to put that many students at risk and god for bid something serious actually happend. We are already in enought of a budget crunch. Could you imagine the lawsuits? For those of you saying they should not have done this, I am wondering how many are parents who just do not want to be inconvenienced by their child for an extra 2 hours.
Nanny State. says
B, Do you have a job? Or is it too inconvenient to be the one that pays the bills in your house?
I do have a profesion and I chose that profesion with the idea that I would not have to put my career infront of my family. Because of that I do sacrifice some career advancment but I am able to be there for my family when they need me so that makes me happy.
I do have a profession and I chose that profession with the idea that I would not have to put my career infront of my family. Because of that I do sacrifice some career advancement but I am able to be there for my family when they need me so that makes me happy.
Nanny State. says
The name for your choice is called “Mommy Tracking” and that is your choice. To impose that choice on others …or suggest that they should stay out of more demanding/less flexible employment than your’s would put women’s rights back about half a century. What about single parents? Should they give up their kids too? What a self centered life you have. Is a home school mom more righteous than you? Should women spend their time in college just to get their Mrs. degree? I think you live in a big single family house and have a husband that pays most of the bills and may be less involved than he would like because of your professional choices. You obviously are seriously disconnected with how some families are struggling.
Just because you want something does not mean that you should get it. A lot of people have kids because they want them but they are not able to raise them properlly. They dump them in daycare or send them off to school and have someone else raise them. I am just saying that that school system is not a babysitter and the parents should not be upset when they error on the side of caution to protect the children just because it puts them at a inconvenience.
A delay should have been called. Plain and simple. I am wondering what is going on with the county, the folks responsible for clearing the roads. This is the second time I have noticed our roads were not pre-treated or cleared when bad weather was in the forecast. Who dropped the ball there?
frank rizzo says
This is what happens when you hire a super who does not even live in our county. Kind of like if we had a president who was born somewhere ………. oh yeah.
TOMBACK NEEDS TO GO! YOU ARE SO RIGHT!
Typical Harford County attitude turning it into something political.
Birther! Enough said!
Obviously you don’t know Robert Tomback! I’m not trying to turn this political, he isn’t a politican! I’m questioning his judgement with the safety of my and our kids!
As a teacher, if I put my students in harms way they way that Dr. Tomback did by allowing students to be put on buses and travel when it was clearly unsafe to do so, I would have my teaching certificate revoked and would be forbidden to ever work in the schools again. This man is not an asset to Harford County, nor to our schools, nor to the teachers, and now he has clearly demonstrated that he is incapable of making simple rational decisions when the safety of our children is at stake. His behavior is inexcusable.
Mommie Dearest says
Sorry Nanny State, but if you have kids in school and you know the potential for last minute closings are a possibility in inclement weather or any other emergency, shame on you for not having back-up.
Really,,,the roads were terrible!When you work with children you should err on the side of caution–if not and something bad happens watchout for the backlash. If you choose to make bad decisions something bad will eventually happen. People need to start making a stand about unfair issues and stop whining about them. Go to your next board meeting and raise heck, call the Aegis(not that they are the greatest), write letters, demand meetings with poor decisions makers, It is our responsibilty to start taking a stand in issues instead of just complaining! Parents are responsible for having a plan in place when things go awry–so deal with it when it snows and there is a 2 hour delay– stop putting the responsibility on everyone else.Grow up. These are the first people to sue when their child gets hurt–
what jurisdictions be specific
R U SERIOUS says
Next time do like I did make the call yourself. If I feel as thought it is too dangerous for my children to go to school, then they won’t. Those are my children getting on that bus and I would rather have them unharmed. They just make up the work.
Just moved here says
This is my first winter with Harford County. I just moved here from New Jersey. If we closed schools the way you do here our kids would never get out of the house. Yesterday there was nothing till 5pm but my kids were sent home early. Last night at midnight my walk and driveway was clear. I was on time to work today and the roads were In great shape. Maryland -wow. Go run and get some milk it’s going to be dark after the sun goes down. LOL.
????????Last night there was clearly snow falling from the sky at midnight. I swept the deck again to let the dogs out.
welcome wagon says
I have a very long driveway and was out plowing that night. I remember finishing up all the cars and my truck, letting the dogs out, putting the tractor away and got to bed by 12:30.
As you visit this site you may see that CDEV often thinks very highly of himself. I’ve just seen where he went over 100 posts to argue the same point back and forth. Clearly he has some issues. I don’t know EXACTLY what time it the snow stopped but it seems like you and I had the same night. I thought the county did an excellent job on the roads as well. My question is why my kids are not in school learning right now (2 hrs late) after a whole day off yesterday! It was a windy but beautiful day. There is no reason for the continued down time. I don’t see the hens on here comparing our day off yesterday to most school systems that had kids in desks and learning by 10:30. Leave it to a woman to think that when a any parent wants to have their child in school learning that it somehow translates into thinking of the school as a babysitter. Cut the apron strings ladies!