Despite being drowsy in an October 2010 crash that took the life of a student, a Carroll County school bus driver will not lose his license. The driver, Kenneth Herringdine, was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but was taking cough medicine and was reported to be drowsy and inattentive the day of the crash. The Georgia State Patrol report on the incident stated that students expressed fear of driving with the bus driver, who was a driver trainee at the time. Herringdine, 59, was sentenced to a year of probation and a fine of $600 for failing to maintain his lane.
On October 4th, a bus taking students from Temple High School to the College and Career Academy, a nearby vocational school, went off the road and overturned when it veered into a ditch. It crashed on rural Highway 113, south of I-20 near Hog Liver Road. Seventeen-year-old Rashawn James "Ray Ray" Walker was pronounced dead at the scene after being partially thrown through a window and rolled over by the bus. The other thirteen students on the bus were injured and taken to nearby hospitals.
Reports show that Herringdine also hit a dog the morning of the accident, and had previously hit another bus. His supervisor commented that if the driver was paying attention he could have avoided the dog. Students also expressed misgivings about riding with him as the driver. Specifically, students stated, according to reports, that the driver was asleep when they boarded the bus, and that “it just didn’t feel right the way he was driving.”
At the time of the crash, Herringdine had not completed all of the certifications necessary to drive a school bus full-time with students on board, failing to have fulfilled the requirement of six hours of training without students. He was slated to take the full-time driver’s test the following day. As a driver trainee, Herringdine was supervised by another driver who was authorized to take the wheel if she felt the driver was not performing well, but this driver had a broken arm with a cast and was unable to drive. Because of the nature of the sentencing, it does not appear that Herringdine's license will be suspended or revoked as a result of the crash.
The nature of buses often puts passengers, other automobiles, and pedestrians in increased danger. Sadly, this bus tragedy is not an isolated occurrence, as in 2009 alone there were 254 fatalities and 15,399 injuries from bus crashes in the United States. If you are involved in a car or bus accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Atlanta automobile accident attorneys understand the complexities of accident and injury law and know how to protect your legal rights in the event of a crash. Contact us today for a free, no-risk case evaluation. Our attorneys can handle any auto accidents, including those caused by issues like drowsy driving.