Originally created 11/15/00

Pickup hits school bus; pupils injured



AIKEN - Seven pupils were taken to Aiken Regional Medical Centers after a vehicle slammed into the rear of a stopped Aiken County school bus Tuesday, the second bus accident in the county in two days.

The pupils, from Aiken High and Aiken Middle schools, complained of back and neck pain after the wreck on South Carolina Highway 302 near Couchton. A passenger in the vehicle also was taken to Aiken Regional, where she was treated and released.

It is the second bus accident this week that sent county pupils to the hospital. State troopers are investigating a hit-and-run accident that happened Monday that sent five pupils from Oakwood-Windsor Elementary School to Aiken Regional with minor injuries.

In Tuesday's wreck, school bus driver Eunice Robinson was carrying 32 pupils home when she stopped to let some off the bus at about 4 p.m., said Lance Cpl. Kelly Hughes with the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Rocco Cuteri, 21, of Aiken, slammed his 1998 Oldsmobile Cutlass into the rear of the bus, the trooper said. Mr. Cuteri was not injured, but his passenger, Tristen Myers of Aiken, was treated at Aiken Regional and released.

Mr. Cuteri was "not paying attention" before the collision and was charged with driving too fast for conditions, Lance Cpl. Hughes said.

The pupils' names and conditions were not immediately known.

"We do not expect any serious injuries," Deputy Superintendent William Gallman said.

In Monday's accident, a pickup tried to pass the school bus and ran into the side of the bus, causing it to veer off into a ditch."Then another truck stopped and pulled that truck out, and they both sped away," Dr. Gallman said. "The tag numbers were retrieved and given to the Highway Patrol. Five students were transported to the hospital as a precaution. We did not have major injuries."

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (803) 279-6895.