A school bus full of children in Tennessee veered off the road and crashed into a tree, killing six schoolchildren.
The driver tested negative for drugs and alcohol
Johnthony Walker, 24, was driving the children home from school when the crash happened. According to federal authorities, Walker left the bus route and had drove on a curvy road while taking the 37 children home. They add that he was driving over the 30 mph limit when he lost control of the bus and crashed into a tree.
Authorities tested Walker for drugs and alcohol in his system, but the tests came out as negative.
Investigators are also looking as to why Walker had left the designated bus route, if he had gone that way before, as well as why he was driving way above the 30 mph speed limit. They are also investigating whether the driver’s second job may have contributed to the accident.
It was the second time he crashed a bus in two months
Walker is facing 5 counts of vehicular homicide and has been sent to jail. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer yet.
According to reports, it was the second time that walker had crashed a school bus in two months. The first one was described as a minor wreck, and thankfully, no children were injured during that crash.
Meanwhile, the entire community is mourning the loss of the six children.
The town’s mayor, Andy Berke shares, “The most unnatural thing in the world is for a parent to mourn the loss of a child. There are no words that can bring comfort to a mother or a father.”
Go to the next page to learn about school bus safety.
School bus safety tips
School bus accidents, thankfully, are isolated incidents as school buses are generally pretty safe for our children. However, it’s still important to teach our kids how to keep themselves safe while riding the school bus.
Here are some helpful school bus tips:
- Teach them to be careful around the bus. When waiting for the bus, make sure that your child knows to step back and wait until the bus makes a complete stop before getting on. Before getting off, they should also wait for the bus to stop, and avoid walking around while the bus is moving. You should also make sure that they never stand behind the bus as the driver won’t be able to see them and might run them over.
- They should never put out their hands or any body part outside of the bus. Some school buses have windows that can be opened by children. Be sure to teach your kids never to open the windows nor put any body part outside the bus if it has open windows.
- If your child has a cellular phone, make sure that your child contacts you regularly. Cellular phones can make it easy for parents to know where their children are. You can ask your child to send a text message right before the bus leaves so that you can have an estimate of when your child will get home, so you won’t unnecessarily worry if they go home late.
- For smaller kids, instruct them to use the handrails on the bus. Smaller kids might have some trouble getting on the bus, that’s why they should learn to use the handrails so that they don’t accidentally slip and fall while getting off or getting on the bus.
- Teach your child to look left and right if they need to cross the street after getting off the bus. Looking left and right before crossing the street is a basic rule of the road. Make sure that your child follows this as sometimes buses can block your child from seeing other cars that are on the road.
What to do in case of an accident
It’s also important for you to know, as well as for you to teach your child on what they have to do in case of a bus accident so that in the unlikely event that it happens, they know what to do to keep themselves safe:
- Don’t panic. The most important thing is to not panic. Panicking just makes things worse as it prevents you from thinking clearly, it might even cause more injuries, especially if you’re trying to get out of the school bus. Make sure to leave in an orderly manner.
- Make sure to get away from the bus as quickly as possible. In very rare cases, the gas inside a crashed school bus can combust and cause an explosion. That’s why it’s important not to stay very close to the bus; try to get away as far as possible.
- Seek help. If you have a cellular phone, immediately call emergency services. If not, look around and ask people for assistance.
- Check yourself for any injuries, and get medical attention. Check for any wounds, bleeding, or a concussion. Make sure to take note of these injuries so that you can be provided proper first aid.
- Call a loved one and inform them of what happened. If you have a cellular phone with you, make sure to call a loved one and inform them of the situation. That way, they can be assured that you are safe so that you won’t have to worry.
- Try and help others who are in need of assistance. If you see people with injuries, do your best to help them out by getting them to a safe place or by providing them first aid if you know how.
READ: Heroic school bus driver rescues 20 children from burning bus
Sources: wrcbtv.com, edition.cnn.com, cbsnews.com, safekids.org
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