Education

More News | |

Burke County pupils, staff home after I-20 bus accident

Saturday, May 19, 2012 11:28 AM
Last updated Sunday, May 20, 2012 2:55 AM
  • Follow Education

Jessica Daley was sleeping Saturday morning when her school bus jerked and swerved, knocking her head against the window.

Six Burke County Middle School buses were involved in an accident on I-20 westbound Saturday morning. No serious injuries were reported.  Special
Special
Six Burke County Middle School buses were involved in an accident on I-20 westbound Saturday morning. No serious injuries were reported.

The 13-year-old Burke County Middle School seventh-grader awoke to screaming as the yellow bus slammed into the back of the one in front of it.

“It was scary,” she said. “No one knew what was going on. Some kids were hurt.”

Jessica said the pupils were led out the back of the bus and told to sit in a ditch while police cars, ambulances and a helicopter arrived to cut her bus driver, Angela Anthony, 44, from the wreckage.

At 10:16 a.m., six Burke County school buses headed to Six Flags, a reward for scoring well on a state assessment test, were involved in an accident on Interstate 20 near Social Circle, Ga., according to Gordy Wright, Georgia State Patrol’s director of public information.

The buses were in the right lane and reached a construction zone east of Covington. As the first bus slowed down, the bus behind it hit it, starting a chain reaction involving all six buses.

Another vehicle hit the last bus, but Wright said its passengers weren’t injured.

Amy Nunnally, a spokeswoman for the Burke County school system, said Anthony was conscious and able to communicate with emergency workers before she was flown to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

She said Anthony was listed in stable condition Saturday evening.

Of the 260 sixth-and seventh-graders on the field trip, 65 were taken to the hospital with injuries, Wright said, although none was serious.

They were sent to four hospitals in Atlanta: Newton General, Walton County Hospital, Morgan County Hospital and Rockdale. Some of them were released to their parents.

The accident was still under investigation Saturday evening, and charges are pending, Wright said.

The westbound lanes of I-20 were closed for nearly six hours, slowing some of the parents traveling to pick up their children from the hospitals.

Parents said they were upset at the lack of communication from the school during the day.

Linda Williams, the mother of India Mack, 12, said she got a call from her daughter on her cellphone around 10:30. India was crying and said she was bleeding.

“I have been on pins and needles since then,” Williams said.

She said she was not contacted by the school until the afternoon, when she got an automated message that said her daughter could be picked up at the middle school at 4 p.m. The buses returned at 6:30 p.m.

“I didn’t know where they were,” she said. “I have been getting updates from Facebook. The school should have told us something.”

Nunnally said the principal, Rudolph Falana, and Superintendent Linda Bailey decided against that because everyone was being contacted individually.

“We were all available all day to anybody who had any questions,” Nunnally said.

Stephanie Flakes, the mother of Elise Corea, 12, said the school should have done more to contact them sooner.

“It’s a small town and a small school,” she said. “We all started calling each other, but we weren’t being contacted by the school so we didn’t have any details.”

For twins Kiara and Isaiah Soto, who were celebrating their birthday Saturday, the trip was enough to scare them away from buses for a while.

Isaiah got out the back of his bus and frantically searched for his sister. After finding her, he watched as a few of his friends were taken to the hospital.

“My friends and I just started running everywhere,” he said. “I was scared.”

Comments (16) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Tots
26312
Points
Tots 05/19/12 - 12:09 pm
1
0
Bus accident.

I pray all involved will be Ok..

jmb578
107
Points
jmb578 05/19/12 - 12:38 pm
0
0
Do you have all the facts?

Channel 12 is reporting that it was three buses in the accident and not seven. Also, you say the accident occurred after 12 pm, but the story was first posted at 11:28 am.

Austin Rhodes
2970
Points
Austin Rhodes 05/19/12 - 01:33 pm
1
0
Local witness

Just spoke with a local witness who says the busses were moving too fast and too close to each other about three miles before the wreck. What a shame...God bless these folks...

showboat
367
Points
showboat 05/19/12 - 06:25 pm
0
0
Austin i don't think that
Unpublished

Austin i don't think that your local witness made the correct statement about how fast the busses wrer traveling, i was on my way to Atlanta and i was only a few seconds behind the busses and they was not driveing over the speed limit. this how the wrong information get out.

OhWell
326
Points
OhWell 05/19/12 - 07:48 pm
1
0
This is sad and I am glad the

This is sad and I am glad the injuries were not a bad as they could be. It is amazing that the Burke County School System can reward their students in this manner when other school systems are furloughing employees left and right.

allhans
24818
Points
allhans 05/20/12 - 10:08 pm
3
0
I am just glad that the kids

I am just glad that the kids are okay.
The details can be hashed over later..right now lets give thanks that they are safely home.

Dr. Craig Spinks.Georgians for Educational Excellence
106
Points
1
0
OhWell, The BCSS is the

OhWell,

The BCSS is the beneficiary of the real tax proceeds from one of the most valuable U.S. industrial complexes, The Southern Company's Plant Vogtle.

harley_52
25783
Points
harley_52 05/20/12 - 08:34 am
0
0
I hope nobody is seriously

I hope nobody is seriously injured.

Sounds like a bonanza for lawyers.

blues550
380
Points
blues550 05/20/12 - 08:48 am
0
0
The Big One
Unpublished

Apparently the drivers were reliving watching the drafting at Talledega!

Skooter
64
Points
Skooter 05/20/12 - 09:00 am
1
0
recommend no school buses for any field trips!

they're not equipped with seat belts like tour buses are!

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 05/20/12 - 09:03 am
1
0
I imagine the staff's first

I imagine the staff's first and foremost concern was accounting for all the children and making sure the most serious injured children's parents were called first. It can be pretty choatic taking that many children on a trip. Most likely there were parents on the buses too. I am sure everyone was in panic mode the kids most of all and it took a while to account for everyone that was on the trip because with that many buses and that many kids not every staff member knows each and every child by face and name. I am sure the staff and parent volunteers (if there were any) did their job in putting the kids first then once all were accounted for parents were notified. Thank goodness there were no deaths.

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 05/20/12 - 09:06 am
0
0
Good point Skooter charter

Good point Skooter charter buses are much safer and the drivers way more experienced at navigating the roads than rural bus drivers. The only problem is this was obviously a school funded trip and it was cheaper to take the school buses because parents were less likely to fork out the money for the charter bus if it was promised as a "free" trip.

bubbasauce
24134
Points
bubbasauce 05/20/12 - 01:03 pm
0
0
I was 300 yards behind this

I was 300 yards behind this wreck yesterday and I prayed when I saw a helicopter come in. I knew it was bad and am just thankful no one lost their life. All I know is people need to slow down a little and they will get there safe.People please slow down, there were cars going 90 miles an hour passing me like I were standing still and not a patrol car in sight.I do not believe cops even bother writing speeding tickets anymore.Too worried about giving people DUI's, more revenue.

srreeves53
4
Points
srreeves53 05/20/12 - 01:13 pm
0
0
Bus Accident

There are a lot of students involved here. The Bus Drivers main concern is to get them safely off the Bus, account for all the students, all while contacting authorities. The fact that so many of the students had phones is good and bad. They were scared & wanted their family right then. There is no way all the parents could be contacted at the same time. Plus most of the students didn't know how it happen and were terrified. Anyone that has ridden on the interstates know they are always being worked on around Atlanta and how unsafe & unsure the roads are, plus people around the Buses are thinking, "we got to get around those buses before we get stopped in traffic with them." People around Atlanta drive with road rage, with good reason. Plus getting help on that interstate is not easy. Bus drivers have to go through safety training several times a year. The drivers they send on field trips are only the seasoned ones, that have done lots of out of town trips. I'm sure they did their best. Burke Co is blessed to have the buses & teachers they have, even if it is from a good tax resource. The drivers work together & so does the system. They really care about their students. Keep this in your thoughts and pray for all involved.

tombee
35
Points
tombee 05/20/12 - 05:36 pm
1
0
Rewards for grades?

What will they do when the students get in the real world
and they don't get treats just for doing what you are supposed to do.

nnaugusta
533
Points
nnaugusta 05/20/12 - 09:49 pm
1
0
Seasoned drivers make

Seasoned drivers make mistakes too!

srreeves53, I agree with you but in this case, the wreck could have been avoided had the proper amount of space been given between the buses. Unlike 18 wheelers, at nearly 43,000 lbs, these buses have only four braking wheels. This makes emergency stopping very difficult at interstate speeds. Common sense hs to be used by both new and seasoned drivers. When it comes to the safety of these kids, extra care is expected by parents and required by drivers.

allhans
24818
Points
allhans 05/20/12 - 10:14 pm
0
0
Following too close.

Following too close. Possibly attempting to stay closed up so some other driver couldn't squeeze in and separate them.

The parents signed off on the trip, thus putting the students in the school's hands. So probably no grounds for a lawsuit.

Back to Top

Top headlines

MCG student, class buy kids' books for Ferguson library

Three weeks after the Missouri grand jury indictment verdict, Ashee Nicole Sharer created a Ferguson wish list on BarnesAndNoble.com, urging classmates to purchase a book for the Ferguson ...
Search Augusta jobs