School buses collide: Five students, one adult injured in crash on Alcoa Highway
By Matthew Stewart | The Daily Times
KNOXVILLE — A three-vehicle accident Thursday morning involving two Blount County School buses sent five Carpenters Elementary School students to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital with minor injuries.
The accident occurred at 9:18 a.m. Thursday in the northbound lanes of Alcoa Highway on the Buck Karnes Bridge, according to a Knoxville Police Department release. The bridge, which crosses the Tennessee River, is located near the Neyland Drive exit.
Two Blount County School buses were traveling in the outside lane when the first bus slowed for traffic, according to KPD’s preliminary investigation. The second bus was reportedly unable to slow down in time and sideswiped the first bus.
The second bus then swerved into the center lane in front of a northbound Toyota Corolla driven by Clara Beasley, 20, Knoxville, the release said. She reportedly could not avoid hitting the rear of the bus.
Beasley was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for treatment. She was discharged Thursday afternoon, according to a UT spokesman. Five Carpenters Elementary School students were also taken to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital with minor injuries. Student names and ages weren’t released.
All five students had been released by Thursday afternoon, said Principal Fred Goins, speaking through Dr. Jane Morton, the district’s spokeswoman and supervisor of instruction for grades 6-12.
The bus drivers, who were identified as Keith Long, 62, and Joseph Hackney, 52, were not injured, the release said. Hackney, who was driving the second bus, was cited for careless driving and driving on expired tags.
Both buses are owned by Huffman Bus Co., the release said. Following the accident, officials dispatched two buses to the crash scene and took the remaining occupants back to school.
The first bus contained about 60 occupants, including students, teachers, chaperones and the driver. The second bus contained more than 40 occupants, including students, teachers, chaperones and the driver.
Going to ‘Nutcracker’
System-level administrators praised the collective response to Thursday’s accident, which happened en route to the Knoxville Civic Auditorium. Students were scheduled to see “The Nutcracker.”
“Safety is always foremost for our school system and transportation department,” Morton said. After system-level administrators learned about the accident, transportation supervisor Stan Burnette was dispatched immediately to the scene to conduct an investigation.
“Our first priority was making sure that students were safe and any student who required medical treatment received it,” she said.
School officials also contacted every child’s parents and apprised them of the accident, Goins said, speaking through Morton. They offered parents the opportunity to visit with their children and/or speak with them via telephone.
After students arrived back on campus, Goins said the school nurse met immediately with students, tended to students who advised the nurse about any soreness and/or bruising and offered to speak with them about the accident.
He also advised that students experienced a “good rest of the afternoon.”