Parents pleased with district's response following Woodville ISD bus crash

Parents pleased with district's response following Woodville ISD bus crash
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

TYLER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - It's been well over a week since the bus crash involving the Woodville I-S-D track team.

"When we got there, my heart just almost stopped. To see that bus, we thought we were going to see body bags," said Nan Coward, guardian of Taylor Coward.

This is the aftermath of what Nan Coward and several other frantic parents saw on Thursday, March 31. Woodville ISD students , on their way to a track meet, when the unthinkable happened.

"The bus started fishtailing in the back," said Carrington Marendes, a 9th grader on the bus.

A preliminary crash investigation revealed the bus' two right tires veered off the road on FM 1013 in Kirbyville. The driver overcorrected, causing Bus 15 to flip several times. And with no seat belts…

"Everybody was pretty much flying around," Marendes said.

Marendes, Taylor Coward and 27 other students escaped bruised, banged up, and understandable scared, but above all else, alive.

"She had her legs up on a stretcher instead of down and I touched her leg to let her know I was there and she just screamed from the pain, just touching it," Coward said.

Many were transported to hospitals in Jasper and Beaumont, with all being released the following Saturday.

That crash was nearly two weeks ago, giving many time to stop and ask, why no seat belts? Coward says the idea has its pros and cons.

"If they had a bad wreck and it caught on fire and the kids couldn't get out because they had the seat belts? And if they put in the seat belts I think it would be a good idea for them to put one of those tools that will cut the seat belt," Coward said.

School officials say the idea is up for discussion, but no decision has been made.

"The district will be looking at, of course, policy and the possibility of either retrofitting or buying new buses with belts, but we've got to do some work on that too," said Glen Conner, Woodville ISD Superintendent.

School officials tell say that crash still remains under investigation. They were  unable to give an update on the whether or not the driver of that bus has returned to work.

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