COVINGTON -- The Newton County Board of Education has approved the termination of the bus driver who caused an accident that sent three students to the hospital.
At the recommendation of Newton County School System Superintendent Gary Mathews, the school board unanimously approved during its monthly meeting on Tuesday the termination of Micheline Nicolas effective Sept. 16.
About 8:30 a.m. Sept. 15 at the intersection of Brown Bridge and Magnet roads, two buses from the Newton County School System were transporting students to Veterans Memorial Middle School when the bus on Magnet Road, driven by Nicolas, attempted to make a right turn and ran the stop sign. The front bumper of the bus struck the right rear of the bus on Brown Bridge Road.
No other vehicles were involved, and the Georgia State Patrol did not issue any citations.
Three of the 58 students on board the two buses were transported by ambulance to Newton Medical Center after complaining of minor injuries. They were given X-rays and released.
After Tuesday's meeting, Dennis Carpenter, deputy superintendent of operations, said that NCSS in the past has allowed drivers who caused accidents to remain employed, but it was usually an accident during which they couldn't see their blind spot or a similar situation. He said the system cannot employ a driver who didn't stop at a stop sign on a busy road and caused an accident.
Nicolas' drug and alcohol tests, which were given as required per school system policy, were negative, Carpenter said.
Each of the drivers involved was employed with the district for several years and has no prior accidents on their records, according to system officials.
Carpenter said he does not yet have damage estimates for the buses, which were each significantly damaged and left in inoperable condition.