NORTH AUBURN (CBS13) — It was a close call for a school bus driver and a student in Auburn when the bus veered off the road and crashed.

The California Highway Patrol says the driver was taking a student to school when he veered off of Bell Road and crashed into a pole and several fences. Both the driver and the little girl are OK.

Don Entee hadn’t the slightest idea what he’d be walking out to see.

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“It sounded almost like an aircraft, and then a huge bang, I said, ‘What the hell was that?'” said Don Entee. “Oh my God, there’s a bus in our yard.”

A school bus headed to Auburn Elementary School took a wrong turn, tearing through several yards.

“Took out my fence and the retaining wall,” Entee added.

CHP officers identified the driver as 71-year old Jan McDonald of Auburn.

They say McDonald was driving an 8-year-old girl to school just after 8 on Tuesday morning when he took a sharp turn off Bell Road after blacking out. Both McDonald and the student were wearing seatbelts.

Entee says he witnessed the girl coming out of the bus after the crash.

“She was scared to death,” he said.

She was taken to the hospital for leg pain and released.

CHP officers say the driver didn’t appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

According to the Auburn Union School District, it contracts with Durham School Services, the company McDonald is employed by, and says it’s never experienced an incident like this.

In a statement, the superintendent said the district is now working with the company to investigate what led up to the crash.

A nearly deadly encounter for everyone involved, raising questions about the bus company’s policies — could this have been prevented?

CBS13 reached out to the bus company and asked how long the driver has been on the job, and whether he has a medical condition that could have led him to blackout, the company declined to comment.


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