Students riding a school bus involved in a crash this week claim the driver was asleep or falling asleep behind the wheel when the collision happened.
Around 5 p.m. Wednesday, a bus carrying 20 students was involved in a crash near the intersection of Sheridan Road and Hallmark Drive. The Everman Independent School District confirmed the bus involved was one of theirs.
Significant damages to the front of the bus were visible after witnesses say the bus crashed into a tree.
Of the 20 children onboard, police say three students and the driver were taken to the hospital by ambulance. Two children were transported privately.
"This one girl on the bus, she recorded her [driver] going like this," student Damian Domenzain said, closing his eyes. "Like, she was falling asleep. After that, she was still in there but she could barely walk. She could barely get out."
Maria Ambriz's granddaughter told her a similar story. Ambriz's granddaughter Johana reportedly hurt her head and shoulder, but she was not one of the children treated at the hospital.
"They said since the light at Sycamore and Sheridan, they see the driver go to sleep. So, I think the kids [were] prepared for something," Ambriz said.
When asked to comment on the students' claims, a spokesperson for the district told NBC 5 local law enforcement was still conducting the actual investigation. The district declined our request for an interview, but they sent us this statement:
"In Everman Independent School District, emphasis is always placed on the safety of our students. An incident occurred on yesterday after school involving one of our school buses. At approximately 5:00 p.m., while en route, one of our school buses was involved in a traffic accident at the intersection of Sheridan and Hallmark. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Fort Worth Police Department, Emergency Medical Services, and the Fort Worth Fire Department, the incident was handled calmly and efficiently.
Out of the 20 students on the bus, three students were transported to the local hospital by ambulance. The driver was also transported as well. Fortunately, the injuries were not life threatening, but we will always take the proper medical precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of our students.
Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Felicia Donaldson, and Director of Transportation, Mr. Jason Gillis, were on hand to ensure that the proper protocols were followed for the safety of the students and bus driver. Baxter Jr. High Staff that arrived at the scene to assist also followed the ambulances to the local hospital to assist the injured students and their parents. After receiving a comprehensive examination by the physicians on staff at the hospital, all students were released and sent home last night. Thankfully, no serious injuries have been reported.
I would personally like to thank the Fort Worth Police Department, the Fort Worth Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services, and Cooks Children Hospital for their collaborative efforts to assist our students," said Dr. Curtis Amos, Superintendent of Schools. Local law enforcement are investigating the cause of the accident and will issue a report.
The district will keep in touch with parents of the students that were transported to Cooks Children Hospital to monitor the students."
Fort Worth Police tell NBC 5, the cause of the crash is still under investigation. They confirmed the claims regarding the driver have been shared with authorities; however, they investigating all possible leads and have not definitely ruled anything out.
Ambriz commended the immediate response from the school district officials who responded to the scene.