School bus crash injures 12 students - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

School bus crash injures 12 students

September 16, 2003

Albany-- A dozen students and their school bus driver suffered minor injuries Tuesday morning when their bus was hit by a dual-wheeled work truck, owned by Oxford Construction.

The bus driver, 57 year old Dorothy Wilson, was charged with a stop sign violation, for not stopping completely at the intersection.

Wilson was looking directly into the bright morning sun. Investigators say that was a factor in Wilson not seeing the truck. The bus was crossing Gillionville Road at Springfield Drive, when it pulled into the path of the truck, owned by Oxford Construction Company, hitting it broadside.

The bus careened into a ditch, where it turned over. The 13 people on the bus, 12 students and the driver, were violently thrown onto the side. Albany Police Corporal William Dowdell said "we were really very fortunate that it was not worse than it was."

Leigh Singletary, a Phoebe Putney nurse, saw the wreck, and ran to the students aid. Singletary said "I jumped in the bus, started pulling kids out. After we got everybody out, we took them across Springfield Road, sat them in the grass, started looking to see who was the most injured. And got ready to start triaging and see what we needed to do. By that time I could hear the sirens coming."

The truck driver, 43 year old Willie Tyson, was not injured in the crash. But you can see from his truck how hard he hit the bus. It hit right on the gas tank of the bus. The roll cage around the fuel cell kept it from rupturing. Dougherty County School transportation director Willie Griffin said "School buses are still our safest means of transportation. They stay inside the bus, they are pretty well protected. A lick like that didn't even tear the fuel tank off. They are built well."

Wilson is a two year veteran driving the Dougherty County School bus. Neddie Peterson, who lives on Springfield Drive, said she has reported several times the school buses driving too fast and running stop signs in her neighborhood.

The truck driver was not charged. Police say Tyson and Singletary were heroes, helping the children escape the bus.

posted at 4:08PM by jimw@walb.com