COVINGTON — The Newton County School System announced Thursday that a bus involved in a traffic accident earlier this week that sent more than 40 students and staff to the hospital had no mechanical defects. The driver of the bus also faces disciplinary action and charges from the Georgia State Patrol.
On Tuesday after school, one school bus ran into the back end of another bus that was stopped to unload passengers on Ga. Highway 162 near Rocky Plains Elementary School.
Forty elementary school students, all with minor injuries, and a bus driver were taken to Newton Medical Center and Rockdale Medical Center as a result of the accident; the driver of the bus that struck the stopped bus was taken to Atlanta Medical Center.
“Officers from the Georgia State Patrol and the Motor Carrier Compliance Division of the Georgia Department of Public Safety have completed a comprehensive mechanical inspection of the school bus that failed to stop,” said Sherri Davis-Viniard, director of Public Relations for NCSS in a media release Thursday afternoon.
She said that the inspection revealed no mechanical defects.
“The mechanical inspection and the braking (skid) marks left by the bus on the roadway at the collision site eliminate the failure of the braking system or other mechanical defect as the cause of the collision,” she said.
“All school buses are inspected annually by the Motor Carrier Compliance Division of the Georgia Department of Public Safety and inspected every 20 days by school system mechanics,” she added. “Additionally, drivers are required to perform pre-trip inspections prior to transporting students.”
Viniard said that the driver of the school bus that collided with the stopped school bus is currently on medical leave and that disciplinary action is pending.
“The school system will continue to fully cooperate with the Georgia State Patrol and other investigating agencies,” Viniard said.
GSP also said Thursday that charges from GSP are pending the completion of the trooper’s investigation.