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Six students, one adult injured in crash

by Kelsie Smith

Rochester, N.Y. -- A car accident outside the School Without Walls sent seven people to the hospital, six of them students.

According to the Rochester Police Department, 24-year-old Mark Heeks was driving Northwest on Broadway Street when he lost control after the Alexander Street intersection and hit the students who were walking along the sidewalk.

"Clearly he lost control of the vehicle," said Lt. Ted Kuppinger of the Rohester Fire Department, "right at the time when the kids were coming to school. So it's a matter of timing because five seconds before, five seconds later it could have been a different outcome."

Heeks has been charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, two counts of vehicular assault and two counts of reckless assault.

Police say weather was a factor but they're also looking into impaired driving.

"We sent traffic cars and drug recognition experts to the hospital and they're still doing their thing up at the hospital and that could be part of the ongoing investigation," said Lt. Charles Gorman of the Rochester Police Department.

The school's principal said there were 20 students walking together when the six were hit. She said students worked together, helping each other right after the accident.

"They helped some of the students get back into the building, they helped by letting us know what happened at the corner and they helped by consoling each other," said Dr. Isonia Owens, Principal of School Without Walls. "When I went to the hospital this morning the students were alert they were talking to their parents; they were very lucid and very calm about the whole thing actually."

The students' injuries are described as serious but non-life threating. Heeks was also taken to Strong Memorial Hospital with non-life threating injuries. 

The students were walking to school from their bus stop when they were hit.

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