bus wreck

Paramedics respond to the scene of a bus wreck Friday morning.

A loaded Alexander City school bus was struck in the rear Friday morning while carrying students to school.

“The school bus was stopped at the rail crossing at Washington and Lee streets,” Alexander City deputy police chief James Easterwood said. “A SUV struck the bus in the rear while it was stopped.”

Alabama law requires all school, church and passenger buses to stop at rail crossings regardless if the crossings have protection arms that drop down. Drivers can cross the railway only once they make sure all tracks are clear in all directions. 

“He was stopped at the tracks going through his normal procedure,” Alexander City Schools transportation director Keith Lashley said. “He has to stop, quieten everyone on board, open his window and door to look and listen for a train before he can cross.”

In Friday’s accident the school bus, with 53 students on board, had just turned off Washington Street and was stopped at the rail crossing before Lee Street. The SUV was following the school bus and did not stop for it.

Lashley said a total of seven people were transported from the scene — both by ambulance and by private vehicle to Russell Medical.

“Five from the bus were transported,” Lashley said. “Four of those five were released from the hospital by 11 a.m. The driver and passenger of the SUV were transported as well. They were all taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.”

Lashley said the other students didn’t get a day off from school.

“They were transferred to another bus that came to the scene,” Lashley said. “They went on to school.”

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.