Woman dies when van hits school bus

FATALITY ON PACKARD'S HILL — Bridgton Police shut down Route 302 early Monday morning after a mini-van, operated by Jacqueline Ingalls, 74, of Casco struck a SAD 61 bus. Ingalls was pronounced dead at the accident scene. The accident remains under investigation. (Rivet Photo)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

A 74-year-old Casco woman died Monday morning as result of injuries sustained when her mini-van crossed the centerline on Route 302 and struck a SAD 61 bus.

Jacqueline Ingalls was the sole occupant of the 1989 Plymouth van. She was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

The preliminary investigation indicates that the school bus was traveling in a southbound direction near Packard’s Hill headed to Lake Region High School, while the mini-van was headed in the northbound lane. For unknown reasons, Ingalls’ van swerved into the travel lane of the school bus resulting in a head-on collision, according to Georgiann Fleck, public information officer for the town of Bridgton.

The school bus was operated by Blair Watson, 62, of Naples. There were three students onboard. All occupants were transported to Bridgton Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. The students were later released into their parents’ custodies, SAD 61 Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Beecher reported at Monday night’s school board meeting.

SHAKEN BUT NO SERIOUS INJURIES — Bus driver Blair Watson and three SAD 61 students were headed to the high school when the mini-bus was struck on Route 302 by a Plymouth van. All four were evaluated and later released from Bridgton Hospital. (Rivet Photo)

“The bus driver did an excellent job of keeping the bus from flipping,” Dr. Beecher said. “The kids did not see inside the van.”

The SAD 61 bus is one of five minis in the district’s fleet, and was purchased last year, according to Andy Madura, director of Transportation, Food Service and Maintenance at SAD 61. Ironically, Ms. Ingalls served as a SAD 61 bus monitor “about 25 years ago,” Madura said.

The bus is expected to be deemed a total loss, Superintendent Beecher said. The bus was impounded by the State Police.

The crash remains under investigation, and is being reconstructed by reconstruction specialists from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department.

 

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