Student involved in bus accident: ‘We started smelling smoke and we all panicked’

Posted at 5:58 PM, Oct 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-23 09:54:35-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - Shattering glass--that's what a student on the school bus that crashed describes hearing on impact.

"Then we started smelling smoke and we all panicked and started getting out. Some left from the front, some left from the back, which was my side, and when we were exiting, we saw the body there so we all started panicking," says student Liz Echevarria.

The bus slammed into a car at the intersection of South Independence Boulevard and Holland Road around 6:45 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Liz was on the bus with more than 40 other students who were headed to Bayside Health and Science Academy.

"A guy died and I saw it. I just feel bad for the driver and the guilt he has to go with for the rest of his life," Liz says.

The driver of the car died. He has been identified as 27-year-old Christian Raul Montes. A family friend tells NewsChannel 3 he was in the Navy and he was married with two children. He believes Montes was on the way to work when the accident occurred.

Liz says after the accident, she and other students stood by in a panic, trying to get a hold of their families.

"She seemed relieved that I was okay," Liz said of her mother.

Police say the driver of the bus is doing fine. School officials say he won't be behind the wheel on Wednesday.

After an accident like this, there's typically an internal review with the division's Department of Transportation and Human Resources.