Two hospitalized after school bus collision

By Brie Handgraaf

Staff Writer

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A Rocky Mount man and a student are hospitalized after a car hit a school bus head-on Thursday morning.

N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper F.A. McClure said the wreck happened shortly after 8:30 a.m. on N.C. 97 east of Halifax Road. McClure said Jerry Marlow was driving a Honda Civic west on N.C. 97 about 50 mph when the car went left of the center and hit a Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools bus filled with Tar River Academy students.

Nash-Rocky Mount Chief Public Information Officer Ashley Simmons said nine students were on the bus at the time of the accident, with five immediately taken to Nash General Hospital. Four of those unidentified students were treated and released while the fifth remains hospitalized. Three other students were later taken to the hospital by parents or guardians.

McClure said the 38-year-old driver of the bus, Janet Cofield, was taken to Nash General Hospital. Marlow, 39, was taken to Nash General Hospital and transferred to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where his condition is unknown.

Authorities said warrants for several charges — driving left of center, reckless driving and driving while impaired by a controlled substance — were taken out against Marlow, but have not been served.

McClure said N.C. 97 was shut down to through traffic for about an hour Thursday morning. Both vehicles sustained damage from the wreck, with the Civic likely totaled.