Parents in Tennessee are still reeling from the horrific school bus accident that took the lives of six children and injured dozens more. The accident has parents and authorities questioning safety measures on buses as well as the vetting of potential bus drivers. The bus driver at the center of the tragedy is now facing charges of vehicular homicide.
The Department of Education in Hamilton County claims a representative contacted the bus company numerous times to complain about the driver. Just days before the accident, several children had lodged complaints about his allegedly excessive speed and erratic driving. In addition, when a school official rode the bus following the driver's complaints about misbehavior, the official reported the driver displayed irritability, a short temper and negative demeanor toward the children.
Because the driver was employed by a contracted bus service and not the Tennessee school district, school officials took no action in light of the complaints. On the day of the accident, witnesses say the bus was traveling much faster than the posted 30 mph as it rounded a curve. The bus tipped over and slammed sideways into a tree. Six children died, and others were seriously injured.
The 24-year-old driver is charged with five counts of vehicular homicide. Now that another child has died from injuries suffered in the accident, the number of counts will probably be raised to six. While the death of even one child is a tragedy beyond words, the number of deaths does not eliminate the driver's right to a fair trial and aggressive defense.
Source: New York Daily News, "Tenn. school bus company was warned about driver in fatal wreck", Meg Wagner, Nov. 30, 2016