GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Workers prepared yesterday to right an overturned bus that ran off Kamehameha Highway into Waikane Stream. The bus was carrying Kahuku High School water polo players to Honolulu.
School bus crashes
Injuries befall Kahuku girls when a vehicle rolls into a stream
Two Kahuku High School girls were seriously injured yesterday on a school bus that swerved to avoid a crash and landed on its side in Waikane Stream.
The town-bound bus carried about 25 members of the school water polo team. Several were injured and others were "shaken up," said John Tangaro, 49, a resident who helped the victims out of the bus.
"They were crying, they were sore, they were in pain," he said.
Alohi Bikle, 16, a Kahuku junior, said students were listening to iPods before the accident.
"The bus driver yelled, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa!'" she said. "The bus just went straight into the ditch. It was just crazy."
The front of the bus fell first, and then the whole bus flipped, she said.
"I was looking up, then all of a sudden my head was to the side," said Bikle, who landed on top of a teammate to her right. "For the first two seconds we were just in shock."
She received a bruised hip and swollen knee in the accident. One of the girls had a deep gash in her head, and another had a cut above her eye.
Some climbed out through the front of the bus, and others through the back.
The 3:27 p.m. accident near Waikane Store backed up traffic in both directions along Kamehameha Highway well into the evening.
Police said a car was stopped on the two-lane highway to make a left turn at the store at 48-377 Kamehameha Highway, and a car behind it tried to stop but clipped it. The bus driver apparently swerved to avoid hitting the second car and ended up in the stream, police said.
Tangaro said the bus driver, a woman, was "really shaken up, I guess, because she could see what was coming and she couldn't help."
He had to remove the windshield so she could get out, he said.
Had it not been for a tree, "the thing just would have rolled over," Tangaro said.
Two Kahuku students were in serious condition, and nine others, plus the bus driver, were in stable condition after the accident.
City Emergency Services Department spokesman Bryan Cheplic said three girls were taken to the Queen's Medical Center, nine were taken to Castle Medical Center by ambulance and an additional 14 girls were taken by city bus to Castle.
Alden Tokuzato, 33, who lives and works at Waikane Store, said, "I just heard the screaming. It sounded like a roller-coaster ride. I heard some screeching. That's when I heard the kids screaming and a crashing sound. Then I called 911."