The school bus was traveling southbound on Old Atlanta Road, and when it came to a stop to pick up students, it was rear-ended by the Chevrolet pick-up truck. The accident was first reported to the GSP at 6:50 a.m. on Tuesday, said Thomka, who arrived at the scene at 7 a.m.
While his vehicle was damaged significantly in the accident and had to be towed from the scene, the driver of the pick-up truck — whose name Thomka was not yet able to release — was not injured.
The pick-up truck driver, who was travelling by himself at the time of the accident, was determined to be at fault and was issued a citation for following too closely, Thomka said.
The school bus, meanwhile, was less severely damaged. However, five students were taken to Spalding Regional Hospital immediately. Another 15 students were later transported Spalding Regional, Southern Regional in Riverdale and Sylvan Grove in Jackson. The remaining students were taken to Griffin High School in another bus that was sent to the scene.
“Early afternoon (Tuesday), all students were released to their parents,” said Assistant Superintendent Jim Smith during the Griffin-Spalding Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, where he provided an update on the accident to board members. “There were no serious injuries.”
District 3 board member Zach Holmes raised the question why students had to be taken to hospitals in Riverdale and Jackson when there’s a hospital in Griffin, adding that he believes Spalding Regional Hospital should have been able to handle 15 students in its emergency room.
Pupil Services Director Donna Parks replied that EMS made that call at the scene, though Spalding Regional would have needed to bring in more personnel for the number of students to be seen in the emergency room.
“Spalding Regional was willing to accept once they had additional staff to report,” Parks said.