School Bus Accident Equals Close Call

October 10, 2007 - Posted at 5:31 p.m. CDT

WILSON-The incident happened inside the Wilson city limits at the railroad crossing at Highway 61.

Victims and witnesses say it may have been a simple misjudgement of time, but when it comes to safety, this was too close of a call.

"It was a scary feeling. It really was," said Athena Byrd.

On Monday morning a routine bus ride to school took a drastic turn for these students.

"We were on our way across the tracks. The train was coming and the train thing had sounded off and the bars were coming down and they got stuck on top of the bus," said Jeressa Banks.

Moments later panic, turned to escape for the students.

"As soon as it happened we didn't know what to do. We just started jumping off the bus. I was scared. I was real scared," said John Woodson.

Decinda Banks was behind the bus and saw the whole incident. In fact, her car was hit when the driver tried to back off the tracks.

"I couldn't move, and I was blowing and blowing my horn.  After he hit my car, the kids started jumping off the bus and running off the bus. It was just crazy," said Banks.

However, according to parents it would be hours before they would find out their children were even involved in an accident.

"My thing is the school didn't even call and notify us until five hours later. This happened at 7:00 in the morning. I was notified at 12:22 p.m. about my child being involved in an accident," said Audrey Goss.

This was a time frame parents say is not acceptable.

"They should have called us. Even if it wasn't anything serious, they still should have called us," said Baker.

Tuesday several of the students are out of school on medical leave, but the thought of what happened on Monday is still unnerving.

"I'm not getting back on the bus. We need a new bus driver. This isn't the first time stuff like this has happened. He drives fast," said Byrd.

We contacted the South Mississippi County School District about the accident.

They tell us, for now, they have no comment until the release of a police report on Friday.

We are told the driver of the bus was Ronnie Smith.

He serves at the Dean of Students for Rivercrest High School in Mississippi County.

We'll bring you the latest on this story at it becomes available.

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