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Citizens in Meigs County honored the lives yesterday of the school bus driver and child who died in a crash in October 2020.

Driver Lisa Dillard and 7-year-old Addicyn Grace passed away after a service truck lost control and hit the bus head-on on Highway 58.

Meigs South Elementary School and the community gathered yesterday in memory of the two.

To honor Dillard, the school dedicated an engraved rock, a tree, and wind chimes.

“Mrs. Lisa was a rock to her family, her friends, but most of all, to her bus riders. She worked tirelessly to make sure their needs were met at school and at home. She often spent her own money to provide treats for her students. Mrs. Lisa had an impeccable driving record in our county, and she was truly an extraordinary driver!  Every time the wind blows the chimes, we will remember the sweet angel who so many times drove our babies home. “

To honor Addicyn, the school dedicated a memorial bench in Addi’s favorite color.  Addicyn was a true ray of sunshine to anyone and everyone who met her.

“She was always smiling and helping others. Her character alone made her shine, but she was also a natural beauty. Her life touched the heart of everyone she came in contact with, and her legacy is still changing lives today. Our world is a better place because of this precious child.”

The bench reads “When you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine! We love you Addicyn Grace Medley.”  It will forever remain on campus as a reminder to live life shining like Addi did.

The school asked for people to continue to pray for their families.

Back on October 27, 2020, a 2013 Thomas Built Buses transit style 78-passenger school bus was traveling southbound carrying 22 students homes that afternoon. At the same time, a 2018 Freightliner truck, used as a service vehicle for a local utility company, was traveling northbound. The truck drifted off the edge of the payment and into a ditch, which reportedly resulted from the driver, identified as 56-year-old Terry Trammell, looking into his mirror. The report did not specify which mirror.

Trammell attempted to steer the vehicle back into the roadway but in doing so crossed the double yellow lines and traveled into the path of the oncoming school bus. The school bus collided with the right side of the truck and came to rest in the southbound lane. Meanwhile, the truck continued across the highway and into trees lining the side of the road.

Lisa Dillard, 53, and 7-year-old passenger Addicyn Grace Medley, who was seated directly behind Dillard, were trapped inside the school bus and had to extricated by emergency personnel. Both were fatally injured.

Eight other student passengers on board were transported to a local hospital for treatment, and truck driver Trammell was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The school bus was reportedly not equipped with seatbelts. It was, however, equipped with several onboard cameras that NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) said are being evaluated for preimpact views of the inside and outside of the bus.

In its preliminary investigation, the NTSB concluded that both drivers were properly licensed, though the collection of records on the training and qualifications of both Trammell and Dillard continue.

NTSB said it also continues to gather more information on the behind-the-wheel actions of Trammell, issues related to the protection of the bus occupants, and roadway and pavement maintenance. The crash remains under investigation as the NTSB said it works to determine the probable cause. It is working alongside the Tennessee Highway Patrol, which is reportedly conducting a separate but parallel investigation.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Daimler Trucks North America, the operating company for both Freightliner and Thomas Built Buses brands, are parties to the investigation. NTSB added it intends to issue safety recommendations to prevent similar crashes.

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