Hed: Lee school officials dispel bus accident rumors

Hed: Lee school officials dispel bus accident rumors

By Cynthia M. Jeffries

Daily Journal

SALTILLO – Lee County Schools officials say a majority of the rumors circulating in the Saltillo area about a bus accident that occurred earlier this month are false.

Lee County Superintendent Lynn Lindsey said officials have looked into the matter and are trying to quash the rumors.

The accident occurred the morning of April 8 on County Road 931. The bus driver, Billy Davidson, a 20-year-old 12th-grader, was en route to school with students when he took his eyes off the road for a second and ran into a ditch, said Johnny Green, principal of Saltillo High School. The bus tilted slightly, to a 45-degree angle. One student, a kindergartner, injured an eye after striking the back of a seat. No other students were injured.

Another bus was dispatched, and the students were transported to school. Information on the number of students on the bus at the time of the accident was not available. The injured student was taken to Med-Serve for evaluation, Green said.

An examination of the bus showed that it was operating properly and it is back on the road.

“We’ve deemed (the accident) driver’s error,” Green said.

A parent of several Saltillo students sent letters to the school, the superintendent’s office, a Lee County supervisor, several congressmen and the Daily Journal questioning the accident.

“Ninety-nine percent of what was in that letter was false,” Lindsey said.

Davidson, who has a commercial driver’s license and a bus driving permit, had been a substitute driver since August. He was given a route Dec. 2 when another driver resigned.

To become a school bus driver, a candidate must be at least 18 years old, have a commercial driver’s license and must participate in a daylong bus driving class.

Mark Harden, a bus driving instructor who teaches classes in Lee County, said a majority of those who take his class are 21 years old or older.

All told, there are 85 full-time bus drivers and seven special-education school bus drivers in the Lee County system. The district has 16 substitute drivers.

Transportation Director Ralph Capps said Davidson was the only student who also worked as a bus driver in the county’s school system. Lindsey said Davidson is no longer driving a bus.

Click video to hear audio