(DEVELOPING STORY) – The Tennessee Highway Patrol says a female bus driver and a 7-year-old child died in a school bus versus a utility service vehicle crash on the 7700 block of Highway 58 in southern Meigs County late this afternoon.
At least five other children were flown to Erlanger in Chattanooga, with one of those being in critical condition. Initial reports state 7 students total sustained injuries.
School officials say the accident involved bus 12-1.
The identities of the victims have not been released by the highway patrol. A total of 22 students were on board at the time of impact.
Authorities said the school bus was traveling south. An electric utility service vehicle was traveling north, veered off the road and then over-corrected by swerving into the bus’s lane. The service vehicle went into a side-skid into the front of the bus. The driver of the school bus had no chance to stop in time.
In response to the fatal bus crash, Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn released the following statement:
“I and the entire staff at the Tennessee Department of Education are deeply saddened to hear about the fatal bus crash in Meigs County earlier this afternoon. No words can express our sympathies for those lives that were lost. We send our deepest condolences to the students, families, school staff and leaders, district staff and the entire Meigs County community affected by this tragic accident and wish healing for all those injured. The department has communicated with district leaders and staff in Meigs County and surrounding areas and is mobilizing to support this community in safety response and services.”
This is a developing story and more information will be released by the Tennessee Highway Patrol at a later time.