The size and weight of a bus can make the very vehicle difficult to handle at times, especially when it is being driven at high speeds. As a motorist traveling on the roads and highways in Greenville, North Carolina and the rest of the surrounding areas in Pitt County, you may be aware that there are many other factors that can also contribute to a bus accident, including dangerous roads, negligent driver behavior, inadequate vehicle maintenance and more.

Regardless of their causes, when bus accidents occur, they can result in catastrophic injuries and even death. One unfortunate example of this is the recent school bus accident that occurred in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in which the crash of a school bus full of elementary school-age children resulted in a numerous injuries and multiple fatalities.

Details of the Incident

According to an arrest affidavit for the 24-year-old school bus driver, a school bus transporting 37 students in kindergarten to the fifth grade was on a curvy and narrow road traveling at a rate of speed well above the posted 30 miles per hour speed limit. At one point in the curve, for a reason that has yet to be verified, the driver lost control of the vehicle, which veered off of the right side of the road and struck an elevated residential driveway and mailbox. The bus then swerved to the left and overturned before striking a tree and a telephone pole. The mangled bus came to a rest after it wrapped around the tree and was almost severed in half.

Injuries and Death

It took rescue teams hours to comb through the wreckage of the bus crash. Almost two dozen of the elementary students were transported to area hospitals for serious injuries, some of which were life-threatening. Five children—a kindergartner, a first grader and three fourth graders—died at the scene of the accident. A sixth child, a second grader, succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital two days later. The driver, who was questioned by the Chattanooga Police and was cooperating with investigators, received minor injuries.

Reasons for the Crash

Speed is suspected to have been a significant contributing factor in the crash. Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the National Transportation Safety Board, have opened investigations. All of the information devices were retrieved from the site, and video that capture the back, front and side views of the bus were being studied. According to Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher, the area in which the bus accident occurred was outside of the designated bus route, and there were no apparent roadway conditions that could have caused the crash.

The Driver

The results of a toxicology test confirm that the driver of the school bus had no alcohol or drugs in his system at the time the crash occurred. He was later taken into custody and is facing six counts of reckless endangerment, reckless driving charges and vehicular homicide with additional charges expected to be levied in the future.