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Title: 2 Kids Die As Train Hits School Bus

Story Filed: Tuesday, March 28, 2000 9:15 AM EST

TENNGA, Ga. (AP) -- A train slammed into a school bus this morning near the Georgia-Tennessee line, splitting it in two. Two children were killed and five injured, two critically.

Dana Keeton of the Tennessee Highway Patrol confirmed the deaths.

The Murray County school bus was picking up children to go to Northwest Elementary School north of Chatsworth and had only seven on board, officials said. It had crossed into Polk County, Tenn., to turn around when the accident happened about 7 a.m.

Keeton said the CSX train hit the bus just inside Tennessee and dragged it into Georgia.

Joe Brown, who lives about 300 feet from the train crossing and helped rescue the victims, said the bus split, with the cab portion driven about 100 feet along the track and the rest of the bus pushed 40 to 50 feet.

The railroad did not immediately return calls seeking details.

Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga, Tenn., said it was received two children by helicopter and was expecting three more. The two already at the hospital, both 8, were in critical condition, spokeswoman Carolyn Peak said.

Veronica Ownby, who lives about a quarter of a mile from the accident scene, said there are no signal lights or bars at the railroad crossing. She said the school bus usually crosses 100 feet into Tennessee to turn around in a church parking lot.

Ownby's grandson, 7-year-old Zachary Matthews, rides the bus in the afternoons but she drives him to school in the mornings, she said. ``He didn't go this morning,'' she said. ``He's upset over all his little buddies.''

Copyright ) 2000 Associated Press Information Services, all rights reserved.


-- (, March 28, 2000

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