April 23, 2009 in City

All children injured in crash released from hospital

By The Spokesman-Review
Christopher Anderson photo

Spokane fire and police personnel work to free kids from a two-vehicle accident at Wellesley Avenue near Cook Street on April 23, 2009. The vans were filled with children from a before-school program headed to Regal and Logan elementaries. The large number of passengers required a two alarm response from the fire department and every AMR ambulance available.
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Everyone injured in a rear-end collision this morning between two city-owned vans in northeast Spokane have been released from hospitals, officials said.

Fourteen children and one adult were loaded into ambulances following the crash on East Wellesley Avenue near North Cook Street.

The children were en route from the Northeast Youth Center to Regal and Logan elementary schools when the crash occurred just before 9 a.m.

The first van stopped to allow children to cross Wellesley when the second van rear-ended it, said city spokeswoman Marlene Feist.

The second van’s driver was cited for following too close, and the city is investigating the crash as it does in any crash involving a city-owned vehicle, Feist said.

Injuries were described as “just some bumps and bruises,” with the most serious being a cut on a cheek that required stitches, said Kimbre Vega, director of the youth center and recreation supervisor for the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department.

“It was a freak situation,” Vega said. “A kid jumped off of the sidewalk into the street, and my gal slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting him.”

Everyone in the vans wore seatbelts, and the vans are equipped with booster seats, Vega said. The children are 5 to 12 years old, she said.

The crash closed Wellesley for three blocks and brought onlookers as children were put in neck braces and loaded onto stretchers and into ambulances.

Parents picked up the uninjured children.

Holy Family Hospital and Deaconess Medical Center were releasing the children, Vega said about noon, and five children at Sacred Heart Medical Center had no serious injuries.

The youth center offers day care for children before and after school. Center employees have been driving children to and from the schools for years, she said.

“We probably do 100 miles a day,” she said.

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