Washington County VA

More details on the driver and Bus #88

Bus maintenance

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. - More details are available on the driver and her bus, which rolled into a ditch and injured students from David Crockett High School.

The accident happened out on Mount Wesley Road Thursday afternoon. News 5 checked with the Washington County Sheriff's Office and learned this is only the second wreck on that stretch of road this year.

Broken windows and scratches are a harsh reminder of what happened to Bus #88. "The driver came around the curve, got the tires off on the left side which was on the opposite side of the roadway. When she tried to correct it, she over-corrected and went to the right," said Sergeant Diane Mays with Tennessee Highway Patrol.

That bus then rolled at least three times. Ron Dykes, Director of Schools in Washington County, Tennessee says a total of 46 students were on this bus which seats 66.

News 5 learned the state does not require seat belts on buses simply because of their design. "Would seat belts have helped? Absolutely, kids would not have been tossed around. But sadly it always comes back to funding issues," added Dykes.

Bus #88 was actually a substitute bus for Bus #30, driven by Brenda Gray. News 5 learned Gray has worked for the school system about six years. "[The school system] received no complaints, no records of safety violations in her file as we speak," said Dykes.

Skid marks and orange lines on Mount Wesley Road are what investigators with THP are using to piece together why this accident happened. "The post-crash investigators will come up with the weight of the bus and be able to tell the speed," added Sergeant Mays.

News 5 learned there was no camera or black box inside the bus when it rolled. For some, the bus is being considered a hero. "The sides were not caved in, you'll see that the top was not crushed. That in itself saved lives," added Dykes.

Students do not have to sign a waiver of liability before riding a school bus. As for the bus itself, it is a Thomas-built model, about 15 years old. It was last inspected in March of this year.

Investigators are still compiling their report, which they tell us should be released some time next week.

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