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Arts & Entertainment

Angels in an Accident: Warren Wilson College Students Sustain Minor Injuries After Bus Accident en Route to Performance

by Josh Reiss, photographer

Photo courtesy of Evan Waksler.

On Friday Nov. 4, a group of eight students were involved in a bus accident on their way to the North Carolina Stage Company’s performance of Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. Theater professor Graham Paul was driving a 14-passenger van on Interstate 240 going towards Asheville when traffic stopped ahead. The bus, which was traveling at an appropriate speed according to students on the bus, then swerved after Paul quickly braked to avoid the stopped cars ahead.

The front-right end of the bus rear-ended a large pickup truck, causing significant damage to both vehicles. Four students as well as a passenger in the truck sustained minor injuries from the collision.

“We were all pretty zonked,” said sophomore Evan Waksler, who sustained the most visible injuries: two lacerations on his nose that were “bleeding pretty profusely.” After establishing that everyone was okay, the group exited the bus and waited for an ambulance.

In addition to an ambulance, firefighters came to the scene, telling the group that if someone had been sitting in the front-right corner of the bus (the point of impact) they would likely have died in the crash.

Though the accident may have been avoidable, junior Mike Willey said that the impact was “less a result of bad driving and more a result of the vehicle itself.” What Willey took from the experience was an increased distrust of the Warren Wilson 14-passenger vans, of which he is a licensed driver. “I do believe these buses are unsafe, and I don’t want to drive them again.”

Some of the injured students were wearing seat belts, but Waksler was not one of them. “Sometimes what you need [to remember to buckle up] is to fly into the back of a bus.”

After all of the students declined a ride to the hospital, Educational Access Coordinator Deborah Braden happened upon the scene on the way to Atlanta for a conference. She brought the four injured students back to campus. Rides to urgent care were offered by Public Safety to all students, and all costs of treatment for injuries sustained will be covered by the college.


2 Responses to “Angels in an Accident: Warren Wilson College Students Sustain Minor Injuries After Bus Accident en Route to Performance”

  1. As a member of the campus Motorpool, I can say with some degree of certainty that the 14-passengers are not inherently unsafe, although they CAN be difficult to control due to sheer size. No vehicle is perfect, but most accidents or collisions are the cause of driver error or simple bad luck. This sounds like a case of the latter. Don’t mistrust the 14-passenger minibus just because of one accident.

    Posted by Nathan Litz | November 22, 2011, 2:08 pm
  2. Wow.. Hope everyone is healing and doing well.. This is the second story like this. the OSU Womens basketball team just had a terrible accident where lives were lost. At least no one here was seriously hurt

    Posted by Robert | November 24, 2011, 5:03 pm

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