Three bus drivers and the driver of a car have been charged with the misdemeanor of following too closely after their roles in a collision that injured 61 people in May. The collision, which involved six buses and one car, occurred on Interstate 20 in Newton County. The buses were transporting Burke County students to a Six Flags amusement park outside of Atlanta when they approached cars that had slowed down when the number of lanes went from two to one. The driver of one bus had to be cut from the wreckage and airlifted to the hospital, but the other injured individuals were treated for relatively minor injuries.
The trip was a reward for 200 sixth and seventh grade students from Waynesboro that had scored well on a state assessment test. The chain reaction began when one bus struck another, forcing the others to switch lanes and get in their own accidents. The accident started as traffic slowed when it approached a construction site that left one lane closed around exit 98, just west of the Georgia Highway 11 exit. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the drivers charged after the accident were Betty Harrison Dukes, 48, of Waynesboro, driver of the second bus; Angela Benjamin Anthony, 44, of Midville, driver of the fifth bus; and Stephanie D. Pierce, 37 of Midville, driver of the sixth bus.
According to the Georgia State Patrol, the accident happened as follows: The second bus struck the first bus in the rear. The third and fourth buses moved to the right lane in an attempt to avoid the collision but the fourth bus was hit in the rear by the fifth bus, which caused the fourth to hit the third in the rear. The fifth bus continued forward and struck the second bus in the rear. The fifth bus was then hit from behind by the sixth bus and a passenger car struck the rear of the sixth bus. Thankfully, none of the children were badly injured and the seriously injured driver’s injuries are non-life-threatening.
Bus accidents are often the cause of negligent or distracted driving, substandard maintenance or repairs, lax inspections, or dangerous road conditions. As buses are large, cumbersome vehicles, they often cause considerable damage when they are involved in crashes. If you or a loved one is injured in a Georgia bus accident, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries sustained. To find out about your legal options, do not hesitate to receive a consultation by filling out our free case review form.