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UPDATE: Pick-up Driver Dead; 11 Students Suffer Minor Injuries in School Bus Accident

Eleven students and bus driver suffers very minor injuries and are released. Pick-up truck driver died in collision.

Editor's Note: this article was updated at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

7 p.m. update: A pick-up truck driver was killed while 11 intermediate students and a bus driver suffered minor injuries in a collision at Yellowbank and Fischer Boulevard in the afternoon accident.

Damage from a downed traffic light kept southbound lanes closed through 7 p.m., as Toms River Police, utility crews and the Ocean County Prosecutors Office continue to respond to the 2:26 p.m. incident.

Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said 34 students were on the bus, which was southbound on Fischer Boulevard after leaving Toms River Intermediate East. Bus No. 101 collided with a pickup truck that was northbound on Fischer, attempting a left turn onto Yellowbank Road westbound.

The driver of the pickup, Thomas Grouss, a 60 year-old Toms River resident, died as a result of the crash, Mastronardy said.

The bus was evacuated after colliding with a traffic light and a parked car on Ruby Road. Students and the driver were evacuated onto a residential lawn and triaged by emergency responders, Mastronardy said.

Multiple units responded to the intersection: Corporeal Frank Palino supervised the EMS response with ambulances from Island Heights, Tri-Boro, Silverton and Toms River Police EMS.

The 11 students and the bus driver were transported to Community Medical Center but released with very minor injuries, said the police chief. Toms River schools officials assisted reuniting the students with parents, deploying another bus to the scene to pick up the children.

"The school bus was equipped with seat belts, however some of the students admitted they did not have them on but promised they would in the future," said Mastronardy in an email.

4:30 p.m. update: A Toms River school bus accident has closed Fischer Boulevard between Shore Boulevard and Bellcrest Plaza, causing minor injuries to 11 student passengers and serious injuries to the driver of a pick-up truck. The bus driver also reported minor injuries.

Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said the bus — No. 101 — was carrying children from Intermediate East when it collided with a pickup truck at about 2:30 p.m. 

Students have been picked up from the scene by another Toms River Regional Schools bus. 

Parents reported to Toms River Patch that several of the children chose to walk home from the accident scene while others boarded another school bus for transport home.

The 11 students and the bus driver were transported to Community Medical Center and released, Mastronardy said.

The name of the driver of the pick-up truck was not released as of 4:30 p.m.

Toms River Regional staff as well as JCP&L crews were on the scene of the accident to help assist with the response.

The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office is investigating. The pickup truck has since been removed from the scene.

A downed traffic signal poll at the southwest corner of the intersection near Yellowbank Road and Ruby Road has Fischer Boulevard closed to southbound traffic from Shore Boulevard to Bellcrest Plaza. Yellowbank is closed from Emerald Court to Fischer Boulevard through 3:30 p.m.

The traffic pole was completely downed by the impact, sending the traffic light into the street and knocking it off its steel union. The school bus came to a rest on Ruby Road, which runs parallel with Fischer Boulevard.

Investigators from the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, Sheriff's Department and local police remain at the scene. A JCP&L crew also responded. 

Toms River Regional is offering support to the families involved and has three resources available, according to a statement released this afternoon: "Any parent whose child was riding in BUS 101 and feels their child is in need of counseling services, please contact the following resources: TLC (732) 773- 8007; Pess (732) 886-4474; Mobile Resources (1877) 652-7624."

joe kozakiewicz April 07, 2012 at 09:22 PM
I worked with Tom Grouss for years. He was a recently retired hard working electrician who was intelligent and caring. He always had a smile, and is somewhere relieved that no one else was hurt.
1stcav April 07, 2012 at 10:24 PM
It's got way to MANY speed limits, 40 , 45 & 50 counting on which section your on, that in itself is a big problem ! Solid DOUBLE lines are crossed on a daily basis, if it's a broken line then you can cross oncoming lanes, but people turn whereever and whenever they please. There should be one speed limit of the entire road and 35 MPH is plenty fast enough in this strip mall road called Fisher Blvd.How many deaths does it take for those in the County and State to do something???? Elected Officials your silence is deafening.. RIP Tom, and condolences to his family he will be missed on the Block and by ALL who loved him.A true gentleman and a pleasure to have known. Mr. & Mrs Ryan
Jay Sorensen April 07, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Fischer Blvd has become Raceway Park. I agree with one of the above posters. The speed limit is all over the place. And I will say that virtually NOBODY slows down when when it hits 40 near the firehouse. I have to turn left to get to my house (going south) in the cross-over lane. I can't tell you how many times people fly by me going 60. Speed limits in this region are a joke. Not enough enforcement. I know the cops can't be everywhere, but school buses often are the worst offenders! I know they have a schedule, but jeez. I am NOT saying this was the case with this incident. Condolences to the family of course. But we don't know all of the facts with this one just yet. It could have simply been an accident or something went wrong. Oh...and now that speed bumps have been in for over a year on Beachview (Speedway Blvd) they are now doing 45 on Marshall and Bergen Ave. Just sayin. So the well-to-do along the bay don't want ANY inconvenience with their Beemers, Hummers, Mercedes, etc... If the bumps slow them down, they just use another street and go just as fast as before...in a 25 mph zone. Don't get me started. BE BIG!
G Male April 09, 2012 at 07:07 AM
Well, we have a voice, lets use it here. Lets work on the powers that be, to prevent this from happening again. As a taxi driver in town, I can tell you SPEED is definitely a major problem on this road. How about those left turns out of the Spirit Liquors across from ShopRite? How many near misses in the center turn lanes are there a day?? I hope we use our Social Media for the good here and make changes.
. April 09, 2012 at 10:43 AM
I agree with you about the left turns out of Spirts and also the car wash. I was at the car wash the other day when I heard about the school bus accident. It had just happened and the helicopter was still overhead. The woman leaving the lot ahead of me, with her daughter in the car, made a left out of that lot as fast as she could possibly go. Fischer was is so busy in that spot, would it have been so bad to go right and go around the block?

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