Motorcyclist dies after crash with Newport News school bus

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - A motorcyclist has died after a crash with a Newport News school bus on Wednesday.

Newport News Police said the bus was loaded with children when the incident happened.

Gary Estes

Gary Estes

The crash was in the intersection of Woods Road and Harpersville Road.

Police Dispatch got a call about the incident at 3:21 p.m.

There were 29 children on the bus and one driver. No one on the bus was injured, according to police.

Police say the preliminary investigation revealed the bus was turning left from eastbound Harpersville Road onto Woods Road and the motorcycle was traveling westbound on Harpersville Road. The front half of the bus had cleared Harpersville Road when the crash occurred.

The speed of the motorcycle operator was a contributing factor in the crash, investigators say.

The motorcycle operator has been identified by family a member as a 61-year-old Gary Estes. Estes was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say he was wearing proper safety equipment at the time of the crash.

Estes' daughter said her dad was retired from the Air Force and had been riding motorcycles since he was 12 years old. He was also was a long-time motorcycle instructor.

Friends of Estes say he was always safe on his motorcycle and stressed safety to others. They explained that he was a great person to News 3's Margaret Kavanagh.

Estes had a wife, three daughters, and grandchildren, the family said.

Police said some children on the bus were distraught and all children were taken back to Hines Middle School.

8th grader Alphonso Mitchell said he was sitting in the back of the bus when the accident happened. He said, "It was just a huge thump when the bus turned around and when we turned to look around, it was a body laying on the ground."

He said the some of the students were crying.

His mom Shirley said all the kids were brought back to the middle school and had to be signed out by a parent.

She said they provided the students with the chaplain to talk to and she said there will also be counselors available tomorrow for students traumatized by what they saw today.