School policy following a bus accident

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro Public Schools bus driver involved in the four-vehicle accident Wednesday morning is off duty in accordance with JPS policy, according to administrators.

JPS Superintendent Dr. Kim Wilbanks said district policy requires that drivers involved in school bus accidents be taken off their routes pending the results of a drug test that must immediately follow the accident.

"If a bus driver is ticketed, for whatever the reason, if someone has to be transported by ambulance, if a vehicle has to be towed, then the bus driver's going to automatically be drug screened," said Jonesboro High School Principal Dr. Mike Skelton.

Jonesboro police and rescue units responded to the accident involving JPS bus 28, a car, a two trucks around at the intersection of Main and Johnson.

According the accident report, the bus driver was headed west on Johnson when he rear-ended a 1999 Chevrolet pickup and a 2005 GMC Sierra pickup while the two trucks were stopped at a traffic light, "knocking them into the intersection."

The bus continued through the intersection and struck the front of a third vehicle, a 2001 Daewoo Lanos, that was also stopped at the intersection, according to the report. The reporting officer goes on to say "after the bus struck him knocking his vehicle completely around, the bus then left the road on the south side of Johnson, and struck the fence coming to a rest."

Dr. Skelton said in accordance with district policy, the driver will be on leave indefinitely, pending the results of the drug test.

"Hopefully, there was nothing involved in any sort of way that will require us to pursue any further action with the driver."

Dr. Skelton said the driver has always had a good record, which includes the background check and the mandatory annual safety training all drivers have to go through.

"There's not been anything to my knowledge that would alert us of there being any problems with this particular driver. In fact, this particular driver has been driving for many years and has logged literally over millions of miles on a school bus."

None of the 23 high school students on the bus were reported injured. The driver of the Daewoo Lanos was taken by ambulance to St. Bernard's Hospital. There is no word yet on if the driver has been released.

Police list careless driving as a contributing factor in the accident.

"We hate that this happened and we'll take every means necessary to make sure that we can ensure the safety of our students and other vehicles out on the road," said Dr. Skelton.

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