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April 27, 2004

RUTHRAUFF AT INTERSTATE 10: Pickup clips bus

From: Tucson Citizen, AZ - Apr 27, 2004

7 students from ASDB go to three hospitals

IRENE HSIAO
ihsiao@tucsoncitizen.com

A pickup rear-ended a school bus yesterday on Ruthrauff Road near Interstate 10, sending seven students from the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind to hospitals, a Pima County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman said.

The students had minor injuries, said Katy Heiden, a Northwest Fire District spokeswoman.

Cecilia Cazares, 45, driving east in a slow-moving 2004 Ford F-150, rear-ended the bus, which was making a required stop at the railroad tracks on Ruthrauff, said Deputy Dawn Barkman of the Sheriff's Department.

Cazares tried to switch lanes and clipped the rear, driver's side of the bus. She was cited for failure to control speed to avoid an accident, Barkman said.

A communication barrier between deaf and blind students and emergency workers caused a slight delay in getting the children to hospitals, said Northwest Fire Capt. Adam Goldberg.

The first firefighters on the scene didn't know sign language, and it took time to explain to the blind students what was going on, he said.

Also, most of the students live at the school, and their guardians do not live in town, Goldberg said. School officials went to the scene, and firefighters decided not to wait to contact the guardians, Goldberg said.

All of the students were taken to hospitals within 41 minutes of the firefighters' arrival, he said.

Three students were taken to Northwest Medical Center, two to St. Mary's Hospital and two to Tucson Heart Hospital, he said.

"This call ran very smoothly, considering the moderate amount of patients and the extremely busy emergency rooms."

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