Twenty students from North Whitfield Middle School and five adult chaperones were taken to hospitals for evaluation Thursday morning after a Whitfield County Schools bus rear-ended another county school bus on a trip in Tennessee. All the students and adults had been released from hospitals by early Thursday evening.
The students were on a field trip to a movie theater in Cleveland, Tennessee, when a tractor-trailer stopped abruptly at a red light in front of one of the Whitfield County Schools buses, and while that bus was able to make a complete stop, the following bus could not and rear-ended the first bus, said Kris Horsley, Whitfield County Schools communications specialist. The wreck happened in Cleveland, Tennessee, at about 9:30 a.m.
There were 33 adults and children total on the two buses from North Whitfield Middle School, with 19 students and four adults taken to Tennova Healthcare in Cleveland, Tennessee, for evaluation, according to Horsley. One student and an adult were taken by ambulance to Erlanger hospital in Chattanooga with injuries that were not considered life-threatening,
The incident occurred on APD 40 at Westland Drive. The front bus was driven by Lawrence Henry, 68, of Dalton, according to Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Alan Bailey. The second bus was driven by Sidney Lemons, 68, of Dalton.
All parents of the students were notified, and, once cleared by doctors, the students will return to school, Horsley said.
"Due to the circumstances (of the wreck), the driver was not cited," Horsley said.
Superintendent Judy Gilreath was in Atlanta for a conference when she heard the "very disturbing" news of the crash, she said. "We're very blessed no one was seriously injured."