Unicoi County

UPDATE: Police say woman tried to protect grandson before car accident

UNICOI COUNTY, Tenn. - UPDATE 8:27 - Late Thursday night, authorities released the name of the woman hit by a driver at a bus stop. They tell us one of the victims was 47-year-old Katherine Bryant.

Sgt. Bill Miller says Bryant saw an SUV wasn't going to stop for her grandson. Authorities say that's when she ran into the northbound lane and shielded the child with her body.

Bryant has been released from the hospital. Her 6-year-old grandson is still in the hospital with serious injuries.

This accident happened early Thursday morning on Unicoi Drive just past Buffalo Valley Golf Course. Sergeant Diane Mays with the Tennessee Highway Patrol tells us a 6-year-old boy and his grandmother were hit by a car. "The school bus was stopped, and had the stop arm out with the red lights flashing. There was a Kia Sorento in the opposite lane," she explained.

Mays tells us the accident happened when the boy's grandmother was trying to get him on the school bus. She says the driver of the SUV, 57-year-old Kris Ann Waterhouse, didn't stop in time. "She stated that she saw the yellow lights, but she did not see the red lights. That's about all I got out of her. She was very distraught," she said.

Mays says both the boy and his grandmother were transported to the hospital. We learned the grandmother has a fractured femur and broken ribs. Mays tells us the boy's injuries were more serious. "The little boy had a broken femur, and we do know that he has a small subdural hematoma and a base skull fracture," she said.

We learned the speed limit on the road is 50 miles per hour. "For the most part of the road, it's pretty much a straightaway. There are some slight curves in it," adds Mason Baker, who lives and works along the road.

Baker tells us the road stays busy. "It's a straight shot from Johnson City to Erwin, so a lot of people take it versus [Interstate] 26," he said.

Tennessee Highway Patrol's critical incident reconstruction team were at the scene collecting evidence; meanwhile, Mays wants to remind everyone to be extra careful before and after school, and to look out for school buses and children. "Any time you're around schools, or any time you're around residential sections where there are kids, motorist do need to take extra precaution," she said.

The driver of the car, Kris Ann Waterhouse, was arrested and taken to the Unicoi County Jail. She is charged with two counts of reckless aggravated assault and one count of passing a school bus.

We're told the investigation is ongoing.

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