Accident raises questions about school bus safety - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Accident raises questions about school bus safety

SEALE, AL (WTVM) - The tragic crash that killed one East Alabama teen and injured dozens of students on a school bus has shocked residents throughout Russell County.

Sophomore Peaches Scott was one of the passengers on that Russell County school bus.

"Everybody just started screaming, and I grabbed onto my friend and then kids and stuff were just screaming and crying and stuff and the bus just went off," said Scott.

Scott described to News Leader 9 what it was like when a car crashed into a Russell County school bus as it transported students to school.

Russell County High School Principal Vantreis Davis says the school is mourning the loss of the driver of that car, 17-year-old Casey Hearn.

"We believe in one team, and we lost a member of our team," said Davis.

Many students from the bus walked away with only minor injuries, but it leaves some wondering why school buses do not have seat belts.

Brandy Osbon has two children who ride the bus to and from school every day.

"I've thought about that yes.  But, the way I look at it is, they think safety, and I don't think that they would put our kids on the bus if there were safety issues," said Osbon.

Russell County Superintendent William Green says student safety is first priority.

"We don't feel that safety belts or seat belts in buses would [have] deterred any of the injuries that we saw this morning such as busted nose and busted lips," said Green.

Green says school buses are one of the safest means of transportation in Alabama, and the drivers must be certified by the state.

"I know the state comes out and does the training for us.  There are several driving schools that they have to go through."

Training like this give parents like Dywanda Rogers some peace of mind.

"I actually trust Russell County with my children and the Board of Education as well because they do different things to come in and make it better for us," said Rogers.

Superintendent Green says grief counselors will be available at Russell County High School Thursday to speak with any student or staff member that needs help during this difficult time.

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