Tragic School Bus Accident Leaves 3 Dead, Many Questions

school busWhile transporting children home from school, two Knox County, Tennessee, school buses collided on Asheville Highway, which resulted in the deaths of two young girls and a teacher's aide on-board the bus. Bus number 44 from Chilhowee Intermediate School is believed to have made a sharp left turn and crossed over a concrete median before hitting the side of bus number 57 from Sunnyview Primary School. That bus turned over on its side and slid down the highway.

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Any kind of motor vehicle crash is horrifying, but seeing a school bus knocked on its side knowing it is full of children is gut-wrenching. Six-year-old Zykia Burns, 7-year-old Seraya Glasper, and 46-year-old Kimberly Riddle died on the scene. Riddle, a school aide, was also one of the youth ministers from Mount Calvary Baptist Church. Seven-year-old Jaden Allen and 7-year-old Jada Parman are still being treated at the hospital.

In all, at least 25 people were treated and released from the hospital. With an accident like this, recovery isn't just physical. The children, adults, and families affected are no doubt going through a lot right now. Many of the kids must be scared -- this is something that is affecting the entire community. The highway was closed until 11:30 p.m. yesterday and both schools were closed today. Though both schools have counselors until 2 p.m. today for those in need. Calling it an "unspeakable tragedy," Jim McIntyre, the Knox County Schools Superintendent, also said that grief counselors will be available for students all week.

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Joy Reinmann, a fifth grader on the Chilhowee Intermediate School bus number 44, said of the accident:

The road was really slippery and I think (the bus driver) just turns around and crashed into another bus. Then everybody in all our bus almost blacked out and everyone was on the floor and screaming and crying ... I thought I was going to die.

Everyone just started crying, so I went over there hugging Lexi, my friend. Her nose was bleeding and her lip, and oh my gosh, everyone was just crying. So I went and hugged everyone.

My heart breaks for these kids and families. People want answers. Why did this happen? How could this happen? These are answers we may never really know, and no matter what, it won't bring the lives lost back. If new safety measures need to be put in place, then I hope that is done.

Do you think school buses need to be safer?

 

Image via ThoseGuys119/Flickr

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