Bus wreck kept under wraps - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Bus wreck kept under wraps

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April 19, 2006

Albany -- Some Dougherty County parents are angry the school system didn't tell them about a bus wreck Monday morning.

Bus Number 147 was broadsided while picking up students in the Putney area. None of the eleven Dougherty High School students complained of injuries after the collision. But the following day, two of them went to the emergency room for back and neck pain.

The school system admits mistakes were made and parents should have been notified about the wreck. It happened around 7:00AM Monday at the intersection of Stagecoach and Nelms Road in Putney.

Bus driver, 70-year-old Roy McDade, stopped at the stop sign but said the street sign blocked his view. He pulled out in front of car driven by Kathleen Russell of Albany. The car crashed into the side of the bus right below Jacory Clinton's seat.

"When it hit, it jerked me to the side a little bit," said Clinton.

Clinton said the police asked the eleven students onboard if they were in pain. They all said no. "They made us sign a sheet of paper, with our address, phone number and age and they put us on another bus."

What happened, or rather didn't happen next, enraged Clinton's mom and another student's parent Teresa Jones. "Why didn't they tell me that my son had been in an accident?"

No one in the school system notified the student's parents. A day later, Jones's son and another bus passenger, Jacory Clinton, complained of neck and back pain. They both went to the ER.

Jacory Clinton said, "They said it might be a pinched nerve and that maybe I bruised my knees when the contact hit."

Teresa Jones said, "He told me it was muscle spasms, and it came from the accident. He said it doesn't happen right away."

And the parents are left holding hefty medical bills. "When nobody told me anything. They should have told me something, got in touch with me, or tried to pay the doctor's bill or something. Nobody done nothing for me," Jones said.

School system officials take the blame. They say policy mandates in the case of a wreck, the transportation must tell the school principal who must then notify the parents of the children on board. They say that just didn't happen, and they're looking into why.

A student told Dougherty High Principal Horace Reid but since no one was hurt, he didn't call parents. That still violates protocol.

As for the bus driver Roy McDade, he's still behind the wheel of a school bus while waiting to appear in front of an accident review board. He did get a ticket from police.

McDade has been driving for the school system for seven years.

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