Surveillance video in Athens bus crash released - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Surveillance video in Athens bus crash released


New video released Wednesday shows what happened inside the school buses that collided last week in Athens.

The crash occurred on South Palestine Avenue on December 11, near the bus yard, on the route home from school. Two Athens Independent School District buses collided, injuring nine students and sending an additional 60 to the hospital for evaluation.

The children's faces have been blurred in the video for their privacy.

An investigation is still underway to figure out how a routine bus trip home ended in an accident. Bus 14 hit bus 13, then went off the road and hit three empty cars in a nearby parking lot.

You can watch in the video from bus number 13 as another school bus, number 14, plows forward and rear ends it. The video goes out on impact, but when it comes back on, seconds later, children are heard screaming.

In surveillance video from bus 14, children are in their seats calmly awaiting their arrival home. We watched this video several times and it doesn't appear to show anything out of the ordinary happening on 14 before the collision. That video also goes out on impact, but doesn't come back on.

On the video from bus 13 you can hear children in the back of the bus screaming as if they could see the other bus coming.

After the crash you can hear the bus driver on 13 try to calm students by telling them help has been called and, "You're okay, calm down."

"I was very proud of our staff, you know, we had several teachers that showed up on the scene, at the hospital, and stayed until every kid left. The first responders were professional, they were quick, they were outstanding, and the ETMC staff were just great," Athens ISD Superintendent Blake Stiles said.

East Texas Medical Center staff can be seen entering the bus a few minutes after the crash.

"From what I gather from the campuses, most of the students were there the next day, and, you know, it was business as usual for them. They were upset that day, but kids are resilient and bounce back quickly," Stiles said.

The following day counselors were made available at school to the students who had ridden those buses the day before.

Stiles says the drivers of bus 13 and 14 have clear driving records and no previous bus accidents.

"Nothing that would prevent them from being able to drive a bus," Stiles said.

He also says those bus drivers will be allowed to resume their duties as bus drivers whenever they heal.

Once the police investigation is finished, they are then able to review the drivers' procedures and take action if necessary.

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