Suffolk police say a school bus driver was arrested in North Bellport for refusing to let medical personnel evaluate five injured children onboard, after the bus crashed with another vehicle. Credit: Newsday/James Carbone

The driver of a school bus involved in a North Bellport crash early Wednesday was arrested and charged after refusing to allow medical personnel to evaluate the five children onboard, the Suffolk police said.

Police responded at 7:50 a.m. to a crash involving the box-style school bus and a sedan on Bellport Avenue and Head of the Neck Road. The children, ages 10 to 14, the school bus driver, Steven Edwards, 64, of Riverhead, and the sedan driver, were taken to hospitals for treatment of minor injuries, police said. An aide on the bus was not injured, and police did not release the other driver's identity.

After the crash, Edwards “refused to allow medical personnel to evaluate the children aboard the bus and was then involved in an altercation with police at the scene,” the police said in a news release. No additional details were immediately provided about the altercation or what led up to it.

Officers arrested Edwards and charged him with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child, two counts of obstruction of governmental administration, harassment and resisting arrest.

Edwards was issued a desk appearance ticket after he was released from the hospital, police said.

He could not be reached for comment Wednesday and no attorney information was immediately available. 

An official with the Victory Christian Academy in North Bellport said the students were en route to the school at the time of the crash but declined to comment further.

The bus was operated by Towne Bus Corporation, which provides transportation for Victory Christian Academy.

The bus company's parent company, Beacon Mobility and We Transport, said they were cooperating with authorities, but did not comment on Edwards' employment status or history.

“Student safety is our top priority, and we are fully cooperating with local officials while this incident is investigated,” the company said in a statement. 

The driver and the children were taken to Long Island Community Hospital, said Greg Miglino, chief of South Country Ambulance Company. 

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