Tennessee bus driver praised for swift action in car crash

(Photo: WJHL)

GREENE COUNTY, TN (WJHL)- Students are recovering after a school bus crash in Greene County Thursday.

It was just after 8 a.m. when Greene County school bus number 70 crashed head-on with an SUV on Highway 70.

Related: Knox County bus driver convicted after leaving special needs student on bus

According to the district’s Director David McLain, the bus was transporting between 28-30 children from South Greene High School to Greene County Career and Technology Center.

Four students were transported from the scene to an emergency room. Also, two additional students and Oliver  were treated in the hospital as well. According to McLain, the hospital has released four of the six students. Two are still receiving treatment for minor injuries.

McLain said, “I just think that we’re fortunate that all the kids are okay. It could have been a lot worse.”

Investigators say a silver SUV swerved over the yellow line and toward oncoming traffic. The bus driver sprang to action by stopping the bus.

A Tennessee Highway Patrol believe the SUV driver is Bridget Oliver, 33.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Robert L. Wills said the bus driver acted admirably.

“She saw her coming and she pulled as far to the edge of the road as she could get without going off the road and as she stopped, she laid down on the horn to warn the driver that she was about to hit her,” said Wells. “(Tullock) said she saw Oliver look up and swerve at the last second but hit the bus head-on.”

Both McLain and Wells are praising Tullock’s swift action as she stopped the vehicle rather than veering off the road into a roughly 25-foot embankment. Wells said swerving off the road could have easily caused more damage and injuries to the students on board.

“Our bus driver is a very experienced bus driver, she did a great job,” said McLain. “She cares deeply about those kids, loves those kids and, of course, she was shaken up but I could see nothing she could do any differently.”

Well said, “As far as the safety of those kids, she did as good as anybody could have done in that situation.”

McLain said safety is always of the utmost importance to Greene County Schools. “We run 80 buses a day. I have a son that rides the bus home quite often,” said McLain. “We put those buses out there and certainly we want kids to be safe.”

 

According to THP, Oliver is charged with failure to exercise due care and financial responsibility.

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