North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

October 21, 2013

UPDATE: Fultondale Elementary school bus in accident; no children injured

By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News

FULTONDALE — No children were injured in an accident this morning involving a Jefferson County school bus.

Four students were on a school bus that was struck by a vehicle on U.S. Hwy. 31 and 53rd Avenue, according to Sgt. Johnny Williams with the Birmingham Police Department. The bus was picking up students for Fultondale Elementary School.

Fultondale Elementary School principal Reta Hayes said all of the children were examined by medical personnel at the scene, and none of then were injured. She said their parents checked them out of school for the day anyway because they were all shaken up by the wreck.

However, the bus driver, whose name was not released, was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

Also, the driver of the car that struck the bus was also taken to the hospital. Williams said the driver’s injuries were more severe than those the bus driver suffered.  

The department does not release the names of accident victims. Williams said it is unclear whether charges will be filed in the accident because it is still under investigation.

The incident happened at about 6:50 a.m. when a car reportedly struck the back of the bus before veering off and crashing into a tree, according to Williams.

Neal Underwood, director of transportation for the Jefferson County School System, said his office dispatched another bus to complete the route.

He said officials from the school system, Fultondale Elementary School and the city of Fultondale were on the scene quickly.

“Mrs. Hayes did a great job,” Underwood said. “She and her counselor came down and were on the scene almost immediately.”

Underwood also said the bus driver was “amazing.”

“She was reassuring the kids that everything was going to be fine,” he said. “She did a remarkable job assuring the students and calling their parents to let them know their kids were OK.”

Underwood said the extent of damage to the bus is unclear, but it was able to be driven from the scene. The school system is getting estimates for repairs.

The Jefferson County School System operates 400 buses.

The accident comes on the heels of National School Bus Safety Week, which was Oct. 15-19. Underwood said county schools are still recognizing bus safety week by announcing safety tips to students and to drivers.

“We want to do everything we can to remind everybody to drive safe and be cautions, especially in the morning and after school,” he said.