Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Bus Driver Charged In School Bus Crash In Easley; 11 Injured

Easley Police have ticketed the school bus driver involved in an accident that sent ten students and an adult to area hospitals Tuesday morning.

The Pickens County School district has also placed the driver of the bus, 52 year old Rebecca Marie Jones Reeves, on administrative leave pending an internal investigation by the district.

Ten students and one adult were injured and transported after the accident at Highway 135 and West A Avenue, according to officials.

Reeves is charged with failure to yield right of way in the crash involving a small Kia SUV around 7:30 a.m.

Injuries were minor and non-life threatening according to EPD. Administrators say the students attend McKissick Elementary, Gettys Middle and Easley High School. They have all been released from the hospital.

Gettys Middle School student Jonathan Richard says, “Next thing you know I heard a horn, and then boom, and then we felt the whole side of the bus, come up and then back down.”

Richard says his ride to school landed him in the hospital. He explains, “There's people screaming everywhere and said, ‘Oh, Lord we done had a wreck.”

That's what Richard remembers when he came to on the bus...he says he lost consciousness for a few seconds. Richard says, “I hit my head on the window, blacked out, and that's when I started realizing we had wrecked.”

Easley police say a bus driver was turning from West A Avenue onto Highway 135 when she pulled out in front of an SUV. Richard says, “All I know is we turned the turn, and we hear boom.”

Bus driver 52 year old Rebecca Marie Jones Reeves was charged with failure to yield right of way, and she was placed on administrative leave by the Pickens County School District.

Richard’s mother, Regina Patterson, says, “If she (the bus driver) got charged with failure to yield the right of way, she don't need to drove no more. They need more responsible people on their buses.”

Citing personnel policy, the school district will not tell us if Reeves has a prior record of driving violations. We did find out that according to district policy, a bus driver cannot have more than four points against their driver's license within the last twelve months. Bus drivers are also required to undergo classroom and behind-the-wheel testing before they can be certified. And they must attend training each year.

Patterson says the district needs to carefully screen each driver. She says, “They need to pay more attention. They got lives on there, very precious lives.”

Richard says the wreck has him scared to ride the bus now. He says, “It's a scary experience for mothers when they get a call saying their children has been in a bus wreck.”

“7 On Your Side” has sent in a Freedom of Information request to the DMV to obtain a copy of Reeves’ driving record. Easley Police say they have not looked in to this because this isn't the type of traffic violation that would prompt them to investigate a driver's history.

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