Bus crash: Investigators to meet with students

Becky Campbell • Sep 26, 2012 at 9:44 PM

State traffic investigators will meet with students who were on a Washington County school bus that rolled three times last week when the driver lost control on a curvy road, a Tennessee Highway Patrol supervisor said Wednesday.

Sgt. Diane Mays said the THP Critical Incident Response Team needs to get an additional measurement at the scene and then “our CID unit and Trooper (William) Shelton will set up a meeting with the students involved in the accident.”

Then next week, investigators will meet with District Attorney General Tony Clark to discuss evidence from the crash.

The single-vehicle wreck on Mt. Wesley Road Sept. 20 injured 28 students, some who suffered serious injuries such as femur fractures, back fractures and one girl had a severe head laceration.

That student, Cheyenne Bunton, was the last one released from Johnson City Medical Center. She went home Monday night, according to a hospital spokesman.

Bunton’s father, Charlie Bunton, said late Wednesday his daughter is tired and resting but glad to be home. She returns to the hospital today for an MRI to determine the extent of the damage to her neck. Bunton said his daughter is in good spirits despite the situation.

Cheyenne Bunton’s release comes in the midst of the continuing investigation into the crash that occurred as students were being driven home from David Crockett High School.

Brenda Gray, 54, of Jonesborough, was driving the bus down Mt. Wesley Road around 3 p.m. that day when — according to multiple students — she sped up as she went over a hill.

Mays said information about the driver’s speed is still being calculated.

It’s what happened after she topped the hill that THP investigators have confirmed. Gray crossed the center line and into the oncoming lane, then the driver’s side tires dropped off the pavement.

“She was definitely on the wrong side of the road,” Mays said earlier this week.

Gray then pulled the bus back onto the road, but overcorrected and veered to the right and went off that side of the road. That’s when the bus turned over and began to roll. Officials said it rolled at least three times.

Gray has driven for Washington County schools for six years and has no accidents or complaints documented in her personnel file, according to Director of Schools Ron Dykes.

She is now on unpaid administrative leave while the investigation is pending. Gray also was transported to the hospital with chest pains after the crash.

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