MUSCOGEE COUNTY, GA (WTVM) – The investigation continues into a school bus crash in Midland Monday morning, where seven children were injured and the bus driver has died.
The accident happened around 7:45 a.m. near Aaron Cohn Middle School.
According to Ricky Shores with the Columbus Fire Department, a school bus ran off the road and hit a tree. The cause of the accident is unknown at this time.
The police report indicated that despite no drug or alcohol test, first responders do not believe the driver was drinking, nor do they believe his vision was obscured. It does list contributing factors as driver lost control of bus.
While the accident report says the driver lost control, it's still unsure what prompted that in the first place. The school bus is a 1999 vehicle and the speed limit in the area is 45 miles per hour.
The bus contained the driver and seven children and was headed to Mathews Elementary School prior to the crash. The children were between the ages of five and nine years old.
Immediately following the crash, five were transferred to the hospital, including the bus driver. Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said the bus driver, identified as 67-year-old Roy Newman, of Columbus, died at Midtown Medical Center at 11:12 a.m. Newman's body will be taken to Atlanta for the autopsy.
MCSD says Newman was employed with the school district in 2013 as a bus driver trainee, and he started as a full-time bus driver in March 2014. He was a driver for Shaw High School, Midland Middle School as well Mathews Elementary School.
Major J.D. Hawk said that Newman and two students had to be extricated from the bus.
All seven kids were taken to the hospital to be treated for their injuries. Some of the students in the bus accident have been treated and released from the hospital. One child was airlifted to an Atlanta area hospital. Two other children were admitted to Midtown Medical but are expected to be okay.
A witness to the accident called the scene "horrible."
"I knew that he was going toward the trees cause there was nothing but trees there," she said. "At that point, we got out of the car and there were children screaming. The way that the bus hit the tree… The door was…You couldn't get into the bus to even reach the children. It was just horrible."
Muscogee County School District Superintendent David Lewis issued a statement, saying: