LEBANON – Maine State Police are investigating a crash in which a yellow school bus allegedly struck a passenger vehicle and pushed it into a ditch before leaving the scene.

The hit-and-run incident took place around noon Monday on the Carl Broggi Highway in Lebanon, police said.

Two sisters from Somerville, Mass., were inside the 1996 Buick Century when they were struck from behind by the school bus, they said. The women said they were traveling around 45 mph.

The women, whose car sustained extensive damage, were able to drive to the town’s rescue station parking lot and call for help. They were treated for neck and back pain by members of Lebanon’s rescue service, but did not need to be hospitalized.

“I have never come across a school bus hitting anyone. But, I’ve seen lots of cars hitting school buses,” said Jason A. Cole, Lebanon’s assistant rescue chief. Cole responded to the crash and interviewed the women. “Usually, the getaway car isn’t this obvious.”

Cole said the women told him they were hit by a full-sized, yellow school bus that had the words ‘School Bus’ printed on the rear door.

According to the Maine Department of Education’s website, state law requires that all school buses be painted national school bus yellow.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said buses that are purchased by the public sector and converted for private use must be painted a different color.

Cole said the town’s fire chief reported seeing a yellow school bus turning onto Little River Road near the crash site shortly after the accident.

State police Sgt. Kathy Roope said investigators contacted Maine School Administrative District 60 to find out whether the district was operating any buses in that area Monday. The district serves the towns of Lebanon, North Berwick and South Berwick.

Three SAD 60 buses were in use Monday, but none was in the area at the time of the crash. Roope said the town of Sanford also did not have any buses in the area.

Roope said troopers are now looking into the possibility that the bus may have been from Rochester, N.H., but no additional information was available Monday night.

Cole said all of SAD 60’s buses have global positioning system (GPS) devices installed in them.

The women, who had to be picked up by relatives and driven back to their homes in Massachusetts, could not be reached for comment Monday night. Cole would not release their names without their permission.

Cole said the sisters, ages 65 and 55, are former residents of Lebanon who were sightseeing when they were struck from behind and pushed off the road.

Police are looking for a yellow school bus with front-end damage.

Anyone with information concerning the crash should contact Trooper Thomas Gonville at 657-3030.


Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]