Parents voice complaints about bus crash response

by: Richard Elliot Updated:

A school bus driver might be cited after colliding with a school bus, sending dozens of students and adults to local hospitals.

COVINGTON, Ga. - It could take investigators from the Georgia State Patrol days before they complete an investigation into what caused a Newton County school bus to crash into the back of another bus, sending 53 children and adults to two different hospitals. 

A state trooper said Tuesday the bus driver, Gloria Inscore, probably would be cited for following too closely.

Investigators are examining the bus to see if any mechanical failures, such as a loss of brakes, contributed to the crash.  All the children sent to hospitals were treated and released.

Meanwhile, some parents complained they didn't get a phone call from the school or district offices informing them about the crash.  Some found out from neighbors' phone calls or from watching Channel 2 Action News at 4 on Tuesday afternoon.

"I was disturbed that I didn't get a phone call to even inform me that my children were in an accident. I had to find out by a neighbor," said Christina Paulette.

Four of Paulette's five children were onboard one of the buses involved in the crash.  Two suffered minor injuries, like a sprained shoulder and whiplash.

"I was very relieved, but I didn't know for like two hours," said Paulette.  "I didn't get (a) phone call, so I had no idea how severe it was.  I didn't know any of my children were in the hospital."

Newton County Schools district spokesperson Sherri Viniard said they weren't sure why some parents didn't get calls, because the district sent employees to the hospitals immediately after learning about the accident.

"We had students and employees taken to two different hospitals, so we sent employees to both hospitals, as well," said Viniard.  "What I was told was there was somebody at the hospitals calling back to the school to get contact information for students."

Viniard said it is important for all parents to make sure their contact information is up to date with their childrens' school, so they can get called during an emergency.

Paulette said all of her contact information was up to date, and she still didn't get that call.

Viniard said the district is reviewing how they handled the accident.

"Anytime something like this happens, we always go back and review, see what we did well, see what we can do to improve next time," said Viniard.

Viniard also confirmed the bus driver had been involved in a minor accident involving a parked car a few years back.