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More details are released on bus crash

COVINGTON -- Those injured in Monday afternoon's school bus crash continue to recuperate, while more details of the accident have been released by the Georgia State Patrol.

Although initial reports from the Newton County Sheriff's Office were that all students were treated at the scene, GSP spokesman Gordy Wright said three students who were complaining of injuries were transported to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston and one was taken to Newton Medical Center.

"They took them to be checked, but it didn't appear to be anything serious," Wright said.

Sherri Davis-Viniard, director of public relations for Newton County Schools, said it was a relief to know there were no serious injuries.

"We all breathed a sigh of relief when we learned there were no fatalities as a result of this accident as we had students on the bus, a student driving the pickup truck, and, of course, one of our employees driving the school bus," Davis-Viniard said.

The bus was carrying 27 Indian Creek Middle School students around 3:45 p.m. and traveling south on Ga. Highway 36 when a northbound pickup turned in front of the bus, Wright said. The driver of the truck was attempting a left turn onto Moore Road, but hit the front end of the bus, he said.

"They collided almost head-on," Wright said. "He caught the front of the bus as he was turning."

Wright said the 17-year-old driver of the truck, a student at Alcovy High School, is expected to be charged in connection with the crash. He was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta with head injuries.

"He was talking at the scene," Wright said.

According to Davis-Viniard, he was released from the hospital Tuesday.

The school system is offering support for Indian Creek Middle School students following the accident.

"Today, the principal, Dr. Mallard, along with the school counselors at Indian Creek met with the students who were on the bus and gave them the opportunity to share their thoughts, talk among themselves or speak to the counselors individually," Davis-Viniard said. "Dr. Mallard expressed how proud she was of them. We've had several community members who were at the scene yesterday contact us to compliment the students for their behavior and actions during the crisis."

Davis-Viniard said the bus driver is being lauded for the fine job she did.

"Many people who actually witnessed the accident have called and e-mailed to commend our school bus driver, Ms. Jamie Ogles. She did a fantastic job," she said.

"According to witnesses at the scene, she was able to maneuver the bus to keep it from turning over. The bus was totaled as a result of the crash, but all of our students and our employee survived and that's all that matters."