Students on bus during deadly crash could have PTSD, experts say

Posted at 6:07 PM, Oct 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-23 18:07:20-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - The aftermath of the accident that took Christian Montes' life is tough for anyone to see, but it was traumatic for the kids on board Virginia Beach Public Schools Bus #66 headed for Bayside Tuesday morning.

Students watched as their bus driver hit and killed Montes on Independence Road Tuesday morning as the sailor and father of two was trying to fix his car after it broke down in the intersection.

"A guy died and I saw it," said Liz Echevarria, who was on the bus during the accident.

"I'm still really shook up," said fellow student Natalia Torres. "I'm still very, like, emotional about it. It's not an easy thing to not think of and overcome, like, what just happened."

Child psychologist Rick Ellis says a good bit of the 35 kids on board bus #66 during the accident may experience post traumatic stress disorder after this crash.

"While you think one incident, they weren't involved, they weren't driving, they didn't know the person, it can still be a challenge for them to emotionally process what happened," he said.

Ellis told NewsChannel 3 parents should watch out for any different behavior in their teens after the crash.

"Depressed, withdrawn, acting out and a variety of different symptoms, re-experiencing the trauma, seeking out thrilling behavior," are some of the symptoms he urges parents to look for.

Ellis said after something like this, the bus #66 kids may even develop anxiety about riding school buses.

"Sometimes it's a good idea to allow the child to get driven to school for a while, to take the opportunity to allow those emotions to get processed," Ellis said.

While what the kids are going through can't be compared to the pain Montes' family feels, Ellis said teens' emotions shouldn't be treated lightly.

"You think about it, you relive it, you re-experience it," he said.

VBPS officials said counselors are available for students at Bayside High School.


UPDATE: School bus driver on leave after deadly accident

Close friend of Beach bus crash victim: ‘He loved every day’

UPDATE: Car strikes elementary school bus in Norfolk; 15 students on board

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

NewsChannel 3 Investigation: School bus crashes in Hampton Roads

Student shaken up after school bus crash in Virginia Beach