On Monday, a school bus which was carrying 35 children from Woodmore Elementary crashed into a tree, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The crash had fatal consequences, as six children sadly lost their lives and many others are in the hospital. The tragedy happened just a day before Thanksgiving break. Reportedly, rescue teams struggled for many hours to get the kids to safety and to free them from the wreckage. According to witnesses, the bus was in two pieces, and wrapped around the tree. But it was left that way in order to help the investigators find out the exact cause of the crash.
A tragedy before Thanksgiving
Reportedly, many children were carried by their parents and had their clothes soaked in blood. Other were fine but in shock after the sad event. Reportedly, it took the rescue teams two hours to get everyone out of the wreckage. During a press conference on Monday, Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said:
“Our hearts go out … to the families, the neighborhood, the school, for all the people involved in this.”
He also reassured the families that the authorities were doing absolutely everything to get everyone out of the wreckage and to transport them to the hospital. According to Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston, five people passed away right after the crash, while another one later, at the hospital. The victims are not going to be identified or their names publicly released until the parents are announced. Twenty three more children were also transported to the hospital. They were injured but not severely. Some of the kids who were in the bus still need to be reunited with their families. The authorities promised that they would be working on that.
Johnthony Walker was the 24-year old driver of the school bus. The police arrested and charged him with vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. Chief Fletcher said that he may be added more charges. Reportedly, investigators are considering very high speed as the main cause of the fatal crash. Maybe alcohol played a role too. Also, the authorities are going to be removing the black box of the bus, in order to find out more details about what happened. Early reports are stating that the bus might have actually hit a pole before crashing and wrapping around that tree.
People in the nearby area are queuing to donate blood for the victims. Many others will do so on Tuesday. The nearby school are going to hold classes but children will be counseled, if they feel the need to.
School bus safety
Sadly, this is the second crash which involved children in Tennessee, in just a few days. Last week another one happened, but fortunately, no victims were registered. This fact might bring up discussions about school bus safety. Some additional safety measures should be taken in order to prevent such tragedies from happening, especially on the way to or from school. Kids should not be put in danger while they are going to study and create a future.
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