School Bus Accident Attributed to Faulty Brakes

September 11, 2015


submitted by Hudson Police Department

On Wednesday, Sept. 2, at about 4 p.m., members of the Hudson Police and Fire departments responded to the Town Common (intersection of Ferry Library and Derry streets) for the report of a single motor-vehicle collision involving a school bus.  Fortunately, the bus carried no children or other passengers at the time, and, thanks to the driver’s quick instincts, no pedestrians were hit.

Hudson’s Barbara Sowerbutts, 69, driver of the Hudson school bus, reacted immediately when she realized the brakes were not working. Noting the traffic, she crossed the intersection and steered the empty bus into Library Park between the bus stop bench and a tree.  She grazed the tree, hit a military cannon and ultimately stopped next to the gazebo without hitting it.

An on-scene investigation determined that Sowerbutts was traveling west on Ferry Street and approaching the intersection with Library Street.  At the time, the intersection was heavily congested with motor vehicle traffic.  Sowerbutts attempted to slow the school bus, but it appears that the brakes failed.  Sowerbutts took evasive action by steering the school bus to the right side of the road.  As the school bus continued to move forward it struck a trash can in front of 16 Library St. and a guy wire to a utility pole at the intersection of Ferry and Derry streets.  The school bus continued to travel west over Library Street and entered into the Town Common where it struck the tree and cannon.

There was no air bag deployment and Sowerbutts was wearing a seatbelt.  She was not injured in the accident.

The accident is being attributed to faulty brakes, and Sowerbutts is not being charged with any motor vehicle or criminal offenses.