Huge wreck may be blamed on medical condition - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Huge wreck may be blamed on medical condition

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By Sarah Baldwin - bio | email

August 15, 2008

MILLER CO. , GA (WALB) - State troopers say a medical condition may have caused the semi-truck driver to crash into a school bus and two other cars Thursday afternoon in Miller County, just north of the Decatur County line.  He could face charges but, he's on life support at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.  

Several others remain hospitalized there as well, including another man in critical condition.  

After reconstructing the scene of the crash that rocked this small community, state troopers say it looks like the driver of the semi-truck that crashed never hit the brakes.

"According to talking to him, we got some information that he may have blacked out due to a medical condition. We have not been able to confirm that with doctors," said Sgt. Kyle Duke of the Georgia State Patrol.

Around 3:30 Thursday a school bus from Southwest Georgia HeadStart was dropping children off on Highway 27. A minivan was parked behind the bus, and behind that, a pickup truck. The semi crashed into them, leaving 15 injured.

One person was air-lifted from the scene, others were taken to area hospitals.

Most were brought to Miller County hospital. But five of them had such serious injuries they had to be air-lifted to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital's trauma center.

"After we found out what had happened that some of our children were involved, our community immediately went into action," says Miller County School Superintendent Robbie Phillips.

Several of the children in the mini-van go to Miller County Elementary. Friday, counselors, teachers and religious leaders were on hand to talk to anyone in need.

"What happened was you could tell that there was a comfort level with children as they met people they knew and would speak to them in the halls. I think it helped ease the situation," Phillips said.

And administrators say they're already prepared to help the children who were directly involved in the accident

"We already know there are going to be some that are hospital home-bound. They're already thinking of ways that we can help them educationally and emotionally as they come back," said Phillips.

Thankfully, troopers say they don't think any of the children hurt in the accident will suffer any long-term injuries.

Here are the conditons as we know them of patients who are still hospitalized.

    • 58-year-old Tommy Thomas was the driver of the semi-truck who is in critical condition and reportedly on life-support.
    • 50-year-old David Ebersole, the driver of the white pick-up truck is also in critical condition.
    • Glenda Smith was driving the mini-van. She has been moved to fair condition. Her 6 and 8 year old daughters have been moved from stable to critical condition.
    • Alice Jaye, a pedestrian standing near the school bus was hit by debri and has a broken leg.
    • Shirlene Hodge, the school bus driver has been released from the hospital.

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