Answers sought in school bus crash that killed Georgia teen

TEMPLE, Ga.  — Investigators are trying to determine why a school bus ran off a rural west Georgia road into a ditch and overturned, killing one student and injuring 13 others.

Georgia State Patrol spokesman Gordy Wright said 17-year-old James Rashawn Walker of Temple was pinned under the bus Monday afternoon and was pronounced dead at the scene.

School officials said the bus was on its way from Temple High School to a vocational school when the accident occurred on Highway 113.

Student Brianna Barger was on the bus during the crash. She said she suffered cuts and bruises and needed 10 stitches.

The Rev. Greg Drake, pastor of Abilene Baptist Church, said he witnessed the accident and went to see if he could help the injured.

"When we got down there, there was one person with a broken leg who was hurting on the inside, and there was another woman that had blood all over her face. Another person said that there’s a person under the bus, and when I looked, it was just his legs there," Drake said.

"There was a bunch of people just crying, just laying on the ground crying. Just chaos. I knew it was kids. It’s just sad that a child has to lose his life that young. It’s not easy."

He said people at nearby Deeper Life Christian Center also helped the crash victims.

"We just tried to pray with the kids and do what we could do," Drake said. "A lot of the kids were scared."

State Patrol Sgt. Justin Howard said the driver, 59-year-old Kenneth Ross Herringdine of Roopville, was a trainee and that an experienced driver was on board teaching him.

Elena Schulenburg, a county schools spokeswoman, said most of the injured were taken to hospitals in Carrollton, Bremen and Villa Rica where they were listed in "good" or "fair" condition.

Scott Cowart, superintendent for Carroll County Schools, said the bus was a 2010 model and had been through inspection at the beginning of the year.

Friends described Walker as a talented artist with a bright smile.

 

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