GWINNETT COUNTY, GEORGIA- On Sunday, April 10, 2011, the Mill Creek High School’s Show Choir was returning from a competition in Orlando, Florida on a bus chartered by the school’s booster club. As the group traveled on I-75 north in Dooly County, Georgia the driver swerved off the road to avoid an accident ahead. The bus went up an embankment and hit the side of an overpass. A 15-year old student was ejected from the front window of the bus.
Debra Waddell, a parent-chaperone, stated, “It happened in seconds. I was in shock. The kids were screaming. I looked down and didn’t see my daughter. I heard one of the kids say she was outside.” Mrs. Waddell’s daughter had been sitting in the front of the bus. She was thrown through the windshield and lay near the embankment.
The student was airlifted to Macon Medical Center with a fractured facial bone and eye socket, a broken shoulder and many bruises. She remains hospitalized but is reported to be in stable condition. A second student was also taken to Macon Medical Center and is in stable condition. Many other students were left with broken bones and black eyes.
Georgia State Patrol officers reported that a driver traveling in front of the bus had been following another car too closely and caused an accident. The bus driver had to swerve to avoid that accident.
Bus Accidents All Too Common:
Just a few months ago, a bus carrying 31 people in New York crashed killing 15 people. The bus, traveling on I-95 near Lower Manhattan, swerved to avoid a tractor trailer, causing it to roll onto its side and strike an exit pole. The exit pole sheared off the roof of the bus.
New York City police officers called this crash the most horrific accident they have ever seen. Thirteen people died at the scene and 18 other passengers were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment- two of which later died at the hospital.
The driver of the bus, Ophadel Williams of Brooklyn, New York, is currently under a criminal investigation.
Just this past February, a Cherokee County school bus collided with a tractor trailer, sending both drivers and six students, ranging in ages between 5-12 years old, to Northside Hospital Cherokee. All were treated and released.
Investigators believe the bus was trying to make a left hand turn from Lovelace Lane onto Highway 369 when the tractor trailer struck it. The tractor trailer flipped onto its side and rolled down an embankment.
The Cooper Firm has handed many of these types of cases. If you have any questions regarding bus or tractor trailer accidents, please feel free to contact us.