Accident investigators returned to the scene of last week's fatal school bus crash in Liberty County that claimed one 5-year-old girl's life and injured more than a score of other schoolchildren and the bus driver. When the wreck occurred, the bus driver was on her route to Taylors Creek Elementary School.
The accident occurred on Ray Road, a dirt road close to its intersection with Ga. 196 West.
While the exact cause of the Dec. 5 single-vehicle crash has not yet been determined, by viewing video from bus cameras, investigators with the Georgia State Patrol's Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team (SCRT) saw the bus traveling about 1,000 feet with the right side wheels in a roadside ditch. It then struck a large tree, causing the exterior shell of the bus to crack up to the roofline on the left side between the third and fourth windows. The bus crumpled against the tree on the right front portion.
An official with Liberty County's Emergency Management Agency released the following statement: "Around 10 minutes after 7 a.m. I received a phone call that one of our buses was involved in an accident . . . there were possible multiple injuries to children . . . (O)ur coroner (informed us) that we had one fatal injury."
It was not immediately apparent that the driver — who had driven without incident for the school system for seven years — suffered any type of medical emergency, was taking evasive action to avoid a road obstruction or another vehicle or was driving too fast. The video cameras captured her interacting pleasantly and patiently with several children prior to the accident.
Any time a child dies or is injured in a school bus accident, parents have the right to pursue civil action against any person or entity found liable for the injuries, deaths and damages.
Source: The Augusta Chronicle, "Investigation continues into Liberty County bus crash that killed 5-year-old girl, hurt 20," Jamie Parker, Dec. 06, 2017