BURRILLVILLE – A collision between a bus carrying elementary school students and a minivan on Thursday, Nov. 10 could have been much worse if the driver didn’t follow proper procedures, according to members of the Burrillville School Department, who recognized longtime DATTCO employee Pauline Lima this week.
Lima has driven the same route for the bus company 38 years, transporting Burrillville students on Route 10 safely to and from school each day.
On the morning of November 10, Lima was driving along Camp Dixie Road when her bus, full of young students, collided with a minivan in the middle of the roadway. At the time, police said the crash may have been caused by sun glare.
“Other than a few bumps and bruises, her students were safe and sound,” said Supt. Michael Sollitto this week, noting that the students were kept safe, “due to her following strict bus rules, proper training procedures, everything that you’re supposed to do as bus drivers.”
“We wanted to recognize you for that, and for really staying calm under pressure, and for everything that you do, driving for 38 plus years,” Sollitto said.
DATTCO staff – including several of her fellow bus drivers – joined parents, students and school officials in thanking Lima.
“Pauline is one of the most devoted, and one of the safest drivers at the Burrillville terminal,” said School Committee member Terri Lacey, who worked with Lima for 20 years driving buses before her retirement.
Lacey said that she panicked when she first heard about the accident, in which four individuals, including Lima, the minivan driver and two students, were transported from the scene, mostly out of precaution.
“They told me Camp Dixie Road and I immediately calmed down,” said Lacey, noting she knew no one was hurt because knows how Pauline drives. “It could have been much worse had she not thought about what she was doing.”
Lacey noted that there’s a drop off right near the area where the accident occurred that the driver avoided.
“You did an outstanding job,” she said to Lima. “Pauline’s the type of driver that no one wants to be stuck behind – but you want your kids on her bus.”
“The Burrillville School Department offers its sincerest congratulations and best wishes to Pauline Lima in recognition of outstanding performance during a traffic accident on Nov. 10 2022,” notes the official citation, presented to Lima on Tuesday, Jan. 11. “Thank you for ensuring the safety of our Burrillville students and staff members by following proper procedures and remaining calm during difficult conditions.”