53 sent to hospital after school bus crash

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NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. - A school bus driver might be cited after colliding with another school bus, sending dozens of students and adults to local hospitals.

The crash involving 53 students and adults happened Tuesday outside of Rocky Plains Elementary School on Highway 162 in Covington. The next day, parents told Channel 2’s Sophia Choi about their concerns following the crash.

Georgia State Patrol officials said the first bus slowed down, stopping to unload a child when the second bus rammed into it.

Among the 53 people involved in the crash, 43 were taken by EMS or by school buses to Newton Medical Center and Rockdale Medical Center. One parent told Choi she had to take her daughter to the hospital hours after the crash, because the school didn’t.

"My concern was, ‘How did you all pick who was going to the hospital and who wasn't?’ Because of something like that, my thing was how do you know what kid is really injured and who wasn't?" parent Melinda Davidson said.

School administrators sent Choi a statement saying all the children were treated at the scene and other medics were there “to address any medical issues not reported at the scene.”

A member of the family of the bus driver accused of causing the wreck said she suffered a broken sternum. Most of the students' injuries consisted of bumps, bruises and one report of a chipped tooth, officials said.

Channel 2's Richard Elliot spoke to parents outside Newton Medical Center shortly after the crash, who were relieved to learn their children were OK.

Donavan Bruce and his family rushed inside the facility to check on his three children who were on the bus at the time of the accident.

"It was crazy. I was like, 'Man, I hope everything is all right,’" Bruce said about the condition of his twins and their older sibling.

Bruce said his twins, Amberly and Dominic, had scratches and one of them complained of a sore leg. Amberly said everything went black after the other bus hit them.

"I couldn't really see anything, just black, and when I woke up I just felt the bus moving and when I looked down at the ground there was glass everywhere," she said. "(I was) super scared. Everybody on the bus was crying and screaming and everything."

Kara Bruce, Amberly's mother, said she had a chipped tooth and suffered a concussion from the impact.

"When I was sitting on the seat, I hit my face on the seat and then fell back on the floor," Amberly said.

Sara Bruner, the mother of 11-year-old twins who were on the bus, said she is thankful that her kids are OK.

"I just prayed, 'Lord please have all the kids be safe,'" she said.

Meanwhile, the bus driver who allegedly caused the crash might be cited for following too closely, GSP officials said. The bus driver's daughter, Alissa Pruitt, said her mother, although hurt, was more worried about the children on the bus.

"She said the steering wheel was shoved back into her," Pruitt said. "She's not worried about herself. She's worried about all the children."

Motor Carrier Compliance will be conducting vehicle inspections on the buses Wednesday to see if any maintenance issue may have been to blame in the wreck.

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