Driver Suspended After 14 Students Injured in School Bus Crash

Anna ISD bus smashed into utility pole

The driver of a school bus that wrecked in Collin County on Wednesday, injuring 14 students, was suspended Thursday.

Jacky Dodson lost control of the vehicle on FM 455 and White Street in Anna while taking students home at about 3:50 p.m.

Investigators said the vehicle's back wheels caught a guardrail on a narrow bridge while traveling west on FM 455. The bus skidded and hit a utility pole before coming to a stop in the front lawn of the Kids' Casa Day Care center.

"The next thing you know, we're like in the air, and everybody's out of their seat, and then we just slam into the pole," passenger Adrian Dickson said.

Harley Davis, another student on the bus, said the vehicle's windshield "just shattered."

"I was just shaken," he said. "I was scared."

Chopper 5 Video showed the Anna Independent School District bus with a smashed front end, and a utility pole on top of it.

Live electrical wires were draped over the bus as students evacuated.

"Just getting them off that bus, that's your top priority, and getting them somewhere safe, because that power line was lying on top of the school bus," witness Melissa Parker said.

School officials said bus No. 68 was carrying 32 middle and high school students.

"They were very shaken up, but surprisingly in good spirits," Anna ISD Superintendent Joe Wardell said.

A number of ambulances responded to transport 14 children to Sherman and McKinney hospitals with bumps and bruises. All of the students were treated and released from the hospital later Wednesday.

"I'm just happy that no one really got hurt that bad," Dickson said.

Dodson was also treated for minor injuries.

The driver works for First Student, a Cincinnati-based company that provides transportation for the Anna School District. He used to drive a route for the company in the Prosper Independent School District and was rehired this year in Anna.

"We are fully cooperating with law enforcement and will also be conducting our own thorough investigation of the incident," a First Student spokeswoman said by e-mail on Wednesday.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Police said Dodson indicated there was a problem with the steering, but investigators said a preliminary inspection did not reveal any mechanical problems.

"We're having to go outside of law enforcement and hire a certified inspector, and hopefully, that's going to be done this afternoon," Anna police Chief Kenny Jenks said.

Police said despite how narrow the bridge is, they do not see frequent crashes in the area.

Dodson was suspended Thursday pending the outcome of the investigation.

Police said there was no evidence he was impaired at the time of the crash. Dodson voluntarily submitted a blood sample on Wednesday, police said.

Investigators said they are trying to determine if Dodson was distracted.

"We've heard some things from the kids on the bus that said he was 'multitasking,' was one quote I heard," Jenks said. "Another was that he was looking at a clipboard. One said he was writing."

Jenks said Dodson denied doing any of those things.

Police have not released the on-board video of the crash. The driver is not pictured in the video.

The Anna ISD said it does not plan to change bus companies.

According to the Department of Public Safety, First Student has had 443 crashes within the past two and a half years. The company operates about 18,000 buses.

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