Official: At least 6 killed in Tenn. school bus crash
Emergency crews respond to a deadly school bus accident on Talley Road in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Nov. 21, 2016.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — At least six people were killed and at least 23 children taken to the hospital after a school bus crashed into a tree Monday afternoon in Chattanooga, authorities said.
Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston told media outlets that five people died at the scene and one died at the hospital. Melydia Clewell, spokeswoman for the district attorney, confirmed the number.
The Chattanooga Police Department had not confirmed the exact number.
The accident took place in the Brainerd area of southeast Chattanooga, and the area was closed to traffic, according to police.
The bus driver was being questioned and was cooperating with authorities.
In a news conference Monday, Assistant Chief Tracy Arnold said there were 35 schoolchildren on the bus, and the ages of the students ranged from kindergarten through fifth grade. The students were from Woodmore Elementary School.
Rescue crews worked until after dark. Nearly an hour after the crash, two bloodied students were on stretchers in a nearby front yard, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported. Others who did not go to the hospital walked away clutching their parents’ hands, the Times Free Press reported.
Images posted on social media also showed interim Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Kirk Kelly racing to the scene of the crash.
And blood donors rushed to Blood Assurance in downtown Chattanooga, where marketing coordinator Mindy Quinn said there was a line out the door.
A WRCB reporter reported seeing several ambulances and a police chaplain on the scene.
The fire department described it on Twitter as "very serious" and Chattanooga's mayor called it "horrible."
This was the second bus crash in Tennessee in recent days involving dozens of students.
Nearly two dozen Chester County Beta Club students on their way to a convention at Gaylord Opryland were injured Friday morning in a crash after a school bus flipped on Interstate 65 in Nashville.
None of those injuries were life-threatening.
The governor said events like Monday’s and last week’s crash in Nashville could lead officials to begin additional talks about safety.
“To me it’s a good discussion to have,” Haslam said. “I think when this is over it’s time to have a good conversation about everything around school buses.”
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