A seven year-old girl and a driver are dead and multiple other children are injured following a fatal school bus crash in Tennessee on Tuesday afternoon.
The tragic incident occurred in the 7700 block of State Highway 58 in Meigs County when the driver of a utility truck lost control of their vehicle and veered into the oncoming bus lane.
Officials have not yet released the name of the female student killed or the identity of the woman who has driving the bus.
Five other children were airlifted to Elanger Baroness Hospital in Chattanooga with a varying degree of injuries. One of those is a boy who’s in a critical condition.
Two more children were driven away from the scene by ambulance. Their conditions are not known.
A seven year-old girl and the driver of the bus both were both killed in the accident, which happened on state Highway 58 in Meigs County in eastern Tennessee earlier today
Five other children were airlifted to Elanger Baroness Hospital in Chattanooga with a varying degree of injuries. One of those is a boy who is in a critical condition. Two more children were driven away from the scene by ambulance. Their conditions are not known
Tennessee Highway Patrol Lieutenant Bill Miller said that 22 children were on the bus at the time of the crash. It’s unclear how many in total were injured.
Miller said a Service Electric truck was heading north on Highway 58 when the driver lost control and overcorrected.
The truck then skidded into the oncoming bus lane, striking the school bus.
Miller said the bus driver was traveling in her lane and had no time to avoid the crash.
The driver of the utility truck was hospitalized with minor injuries, according to police.
Meigs County Sheriff Jackie Melton said during the conference that in his time in law enforcement, this was an incident that ‘really touched home.’
‘Never in your wildest dreams do you think when you go out the door that you’ll deal with something like this,’ Baker said. ‘It’s a tragedy – no other way to describe it.’
Meigs County Board of Education said all parents had been contacted and were either reunited with their children or taken to area hospitals.
Miller said a Service Electric truck (seen left) was heading north on Highway 58 when the driver lost control and overcorrected. The truck then skidded into the oncoming bus lane, striking the school bus head-on
The driver of the utility truck suffered only minor injuries, according to police
Meigs County Board of Education said all parents were contacted and were either reunited with their children or taken to area hospitals
A spokesperson for Blood Assurance in Hamilton County, which collects blood for hospitals in the area, announced it had a ‘critical need’ for blood donations due to the injuries. Four locations to donate blood were open until 10:00pm.
An investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding the crash.
District Attorney Russell Johnson said, ‘the story is yet to play out with this investigations.’
Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said in a statement that she and the entire staff at the Tennessee Department of Education are ‘deeply saddened’ to hear about the crash.
‘No words can express our sympathies for those lives that were lost. We send our deepest condolences to the students, families, school staff and leaders, district staff and the entire Meigs County community affected by this tragic accident and wish healing for all those injured,’ Schwinn said.
‘The department has communicated with district leaders and staff in Meigs County and surrounding areas and is mobilizing to support this community in safety response and services,’ she continued.
After news of the crash was reported, an outpouring of support flooding to social media for all those involved.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee was among those offering their condolences.
‘Maria and I are deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries sustained from the school bus crash in Meigs County today,’ Lee tweeted. ‘We offer prayers of comfort to the families who are hurting tonight and our full support to the community in the days ahead.’
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said he was ‘deeply saddened’ by the news of the fatal crash.
‘My thoughts are with these children and their families. Until we have more information, we will hope for the best and keep them in our prayers,’ he continued.