Bus crash carrying Carey Jr. High athletes

Emergency personnel are shown at the scene of a bus crash April 18 west of Richfield. The bus was carrying children from Carey Jr. High who were on the way to a track meet.

DREW NASH, TIMES-NEWS FILE PHOTO

SHOSHONE — A Carey school bus driver has been charged with misdemeanor reckless driving after an April crash injured a dozen students.

Richard Mecham, 67, was charged Monday in Lincoln County Fifth District Court, online court records show. A pretrial conference is slated for 9:30 a.m. July 14.

Police said Mecham was driving west a school bus on U.S. 26 on April 18 when he drove off the right shoulder of the road, over-corrected and rolled the bus west of Richfield.

Students were traveling to a track meet in Gooding. A dozen of the 39 Carey Junior High School students who were on the bus were hospitalized. All were released by the next afternoon.

A collision report from Idaho State Police says Mecham was asleep, drowsy or fatigued while operating the school bus.

The report lists distraction as another contributing circumstance. Mecham is no longer employed by the Blaine County School District.

“We were saddened and shocked when the accident occurred,” school district spokeswoman Heather Crocker said Thursday.

The school district has an ongoing plan to help students who were on the bus recover physically and emotionally, she said.

The worst injury was a severe concussion, which kept the affected student out of school for about two weeks. All of the students had returned by the first week of May.

Carey School principal John Peck wasn’t available to comment Thursday.

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Support for students has included sessions with a social worker who’s trained in trauma response, and an information session for parents about signs to look for when students experience trauma and the effects of a concussion on students.

At the end of the school year, students also participated in an equine therapy session.

The 39 Carey students who were on the bus will receive ongoing check-ins and support next school year, Crocker said.

Bad memories of the school bus crash can never be erased, she said, but adults can help students associate good memories with the people who cared for them and supported them in the aftermath.

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