Seat belt buckle thrown from school bus hits driver

A Charlotte area man is recovering after a horrible and bizarre incident involving middle school students and an unprovoked attack.  And perhaps just as bad, he didn’t get any help from authorities until NBC Charlotte stepped in.  

Imagine you're driving down the street when a seat belt buckle comes flying through your windshield. It happened to a Charlotte man.

WARNING: Graphic images and details are contained in this story.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A Charlotte father of three was on his way home from work when something thrown from a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools bus crashed through his windshield.

Nick Crane is an easygoing, likeable guy.  Not much phases the father of three.

“It makes me mad that he’s not more angry,” his wife said.

His wife is frustrated and just plain upset after a bizarre incident that severely hurt Crane. 

“I was coming home from work, was turning off I-485 got onto Belmeade," he explained.  "And as I passed the school bus, an object came from the school bus out of the corner of my eye and then my windshield exploded.”

A seat belt buckle was hurled through his car windshield.

“It’s quite a big buckle,” he said pointing at the picture of the buckle.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police determined it was the seat belt buckle from a specially equipped bus from Whitewater Middle,  a CMS school .

“As I kind of figured out what happened I pulled over and there was a huge seat belt buckle that had come through the windshield and hit me right in the face,” Crane said.

It cracked his cheekbone.  He suffered a fractured jaw and had to have stitches in his lip.  Crane also had to have a tooth pulled.

“It’s just a shock when you come seeing your husband's lip is split open and his tooth is not in the same spot and you have to take him to the ER,” his wife said.

His recovery has been painful. Crane has made multiple doctors visits.  The information gathering process has also been painful.

“I don’t understand how I can't get answers from anyone about anything,” Crane said.

When NBC Charlotte sat down with Crane he’d been trying for weeks to get answers from CMPD and CMS.  He was getting nowhere.  He did not even receive a single return phone call from either agency.

NBC Charlotte stepped in and Crane says he finally got return calls.  But still no real answers.

CMPD told him the case is closed.  They couldn’t determine which student threw the buckle.

A spokeswoman for CMS sent NBC Charlotte an email saying "no criminal charges are being filed" and they are not allowed to comment on any possible disciplinary action being taken.

“It’s kind of heartbreaking," Crane said.  "You’ve been through a tragedy and nobody can help.”

CMS also told NBC Charlotte that when a student throws anything from a school bus, the student and parents of the student are liable for the damages.  But since it appears they don’t know which student did it, Nick Crane, may be out of luck.


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