CHARLOTTE (WJZY) — Asleep at the wheel and cited. That’s what a new report reveals about the dump truck driver involved in a crash with a Charlotte-Mecklenberg County School school bus.
The head-on collision took place while that bus was taking kids to South Meck High School around 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Parents and students are still recovering from the trauma.
“Still a little shaken up with it,” South Meck Senior Luisa Munoz said. “I’m still thinking about it.”
It was a bus ride to school that she certainly won’t ever forget.
“I heard her honk the horn and I thought, someone, must not be letting her pass. But, it wasn’t like that,” Munoz said. “That’s when we felt the impact and everything. I don’t know. I was on the floor and I saw everyone else on the floor.”
“It’s like you put your child on the bus thinking they’ll be safe,” parent Amonie Greene said. “You think they’ll be safe taking the bus to school.”
Greene’s 15-year-old daughter is a freshman at South Meck and was injured on the bus.
“She’s in a lot of pain,” Greene said. “And there’s a lot of mental trauma and stuff as well as physical.”
She sustained several injuries, including facial fractures.
“Initially, she couldn’t talk and had to give the phone to her friend to call me because she couldn’t open her mouth,” Greene said. “Her lips were attached to her braces.”
According to the crash report, the dump truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel and crossed the center line.
“It’s horrific,” Greene said. “And it doesn’t make me feel any better that they say he fell asleep. I feel bad because I know he was injured. But, as a parent, driving up to a scene like that yesterday was just horrible.”
The incident resulted in 17 injuries, with 16 people having to go to the hospital.
“She doesn’t even want to ride the bus,” Greene said.
“I had to take my sister to the bus stop and I saw it and was just like ugh, you know?” Munoz said.
“These injuries are bad and they’re long-lasting,” Greene said. “For the kids and parents as well.”
The dump truck is owned by Atlantic Coast Contractors, Inc.
The company released the following statement:
“On Wednesday, May 11, an Atlantic Coast Contractors’ employee was involved in a traffic accident with a CMS bus and another vehicle. We are working with the authorities to determine details about what happened and next steps. The safety and well-being of everyone involved is our highest priority, and our thoughts are with all who were injured. We are deeply saddened by these events, and our sympathy and prayers go out to all of the families that have been affected.”
According to CDOT, there have been five accidents on that stretch of road since 2018, none of those fatal. Those statistics go through August of 2021.