PENDLETON - Three children where injured is a chain-reaction wreck involving a school bus at about 4 p.m. Wednesday near the 3000 block of Southeast Riverside.
Deputy Nathan Good of the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office responded to the wreck that involved the bus, minivan and an SUV.
A dark blue Ford Windstar minivan, with a wrecked rear end and a crushed front, sat between the school bus, known as "E.T.," and a white Toyota 4-Runner. The front of the SUV also was wrecked. The bus did not appear damaged.
Witnesses said the bus was stopped at an intersection to drop off school children and the minivan was parked about 15 feet behind it. That's when the SUV hit the minivan.
Good issued a citation for careless driving to Jeanette Lynn Neth, 36, of Pendleton, the operator of the Toyota 4-Runner; and also cited Carmella Lanai Bayliss, 33, of Pendleton, the driver of the minivan, for driving uninsured.
Chris Funk said she lives across the street from where the accident occurred. She said the bus was stopped and the driver had extended the bus' stop sign near the front of the vehicle.
She said the driver of the SUV drove her vehicle into the back of the minivan, forcing it to collide with the back of the bus.
Funk and Angie Roberts, also who lives nearby, said the driver of the minivan then exited the vehicle, ran around the two crashed vehicles and pried open the minivan's passenger side sliding door. She then removed two children from the Windstar.
The Umatilla County Sheriff's Office, Pendleton Fire and Ambulance, and Tribal Fire and Tribal Police responded to the scene. Emergency crews moved the children to gurneys and transported them to St. Anthony Hospital. Crews also attended to one child from the school bus and transported that child to St. Anthony as well.
Tony Barnhart, chief executive officer of Mid Columbia Bus Co., said the bus was transporting 22 elementary students when the accident occurred.
Barnhart confirmed the driver and remaining students were unhurt. MidCo transferred the students from the damaged bus to another to complete the journey home.
Authorities didn't release the names of the injured children. Because St. Anthony Hospital isn't allowed to confirm a patient's condition without a name, the status of the children is unknown.
EO reporters Samantha Bates and Terry Murry contributed to this story.