Special projects manager Jarrod Adams said that neither Lanty Ross Lindley, who told police he fell asleep at the wheel when he crashed into a tree Tuesday afternoon, nor Jackie Adams, who was charged with a DUI during her Wednesday-morning route, had any disciplinary action taken against them in their years driving for the county. Jarrod Adams added that Lindley had been driving for about five years and that Jackie Adams had been employed for about three years.
Both Adams and Lindley went through the rigorous background checks and training procedures required, Jarrod Adams confirmed Wednesday.
“We set pretty high standards for bus drivers. If they don’t meet those expectations they don’t stay with us,” he said.
He added the two drivers will remain suspended without pay pending the outcome of the police investigation.
“If they were at fault and put our children at risk, we’ll look at termination for sure,” he said.
The two incidents have reignited a rally for seatbelts on all county school buses from parents and members of the community. While Adams said seatbelts sound like a good idea in certain situations like fender benders, he said he would be hesitant because they could be harmful or dangerous in some other situations.
According to a Tennessee Highway Patrol report, five students were injured Tuesday afternoon when Lindley crashed into a tree. Lindley was also injured, and was pinned in the bus and had to be cut out by emergency responders.
Students riding on the bus originally said they thought the bus may have broken a suspension component, causing it to crash, but investigators said no mechanical malfunctions were found. At an interview at the hospital, Lindley told troopers he was fatigued and had fallen asleep at the wheel.
Lindley was charged with failure to exercise due care.
A Washington County Schools bus driver transporting 23 students was arrested Wednesday morning and accused of driving under the influence, a Jonesborough Police Department press release stated.
Police charged Jackie Adams, 49, of Telford, with DUI and reckless endangerment.
About 7:20 a.m., Jonesborough police received a 911 call from a driver who observed Adams driving the bus erratically on East Main Street, the release said.
Police were able to quickly locate the bus and performed a traffic stop. Sgt. Jason Rounds said Adams had visual signs of impairment and asked her to perform a sobriety test, the release stated.
According to Rounds, Adams’ poor performance of the sobriety test, combined with “other evidence” at the scene, resulted in her arrest.
Due to it being an ongoing investigation, Jonesborough Police Maj. Jamie Aistrop said he could not elaborate on the evidence found. He also said a toxicology report is pending that will determine what, if any, substance Adams may have been impaired by.
Police said 23 students were aboard Adams’ bus at the time of her arrest. A Washington County Department of Education transportation worker responded to the scene and drove the children to school.
The arrest came a day after another Washington County driver crashed his school bus into a tree, injuring himself and four students. Lanty Ross Lindley, 68, fell asleep at the wheel Tuesday afternoon as he was taking 17 students home from David Crockett High School, according to a Tennessee Highway Patrol report released Wednesday.
This is a developing story. Keep visiting JohnsonCityPress.com for updates.