Tennessee bus driver praised for swift action in crash

(Courtesy: WJHL)

GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Students are recovering after a school bus crash in Greene County on Thursday.

It was just after 8 a.m. in the morning when school bus number 70 with Greene County Schools crashed head-on with an SUV on Highway 70.

According to Greene County Director of Schools David McLain, the bus was transporting 28 to 30 kids from South Greene High School to Greene County Career and Technology Center.

As a silver SUV swerved over the yellow line and toward oncoming traffic the Greene County bus driver sprang to action by stopping the bus.

A Tennessee Highway Patrol report has identified the driver of the silver SUV that struck the bus as 33-year-old Bridget Oliver, of Afton, Tennessee.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Robert L. Wills said the bus driver, Helen Tullock, acted admirably.

“She saw her coming and she pulled as far to the edge of the road as she could get without going off the road and as she stopped, she laid down on the horn to warn the driver that she was about to hit her,” he said. “The bus driver said she saw Oliver look up and swerve at the last second but hit the bus head-on.”

Both McLain and Wills are praising the bus driver’s swift action as she stopped the vehicle rather than veering off the road into a roughly 25-foot embankment.

Wills said swerving off the road could have easily caused more damage and injuries to the students on board.

“Our bus driver is a very experienced bus driver, she did a great job.” “She cares deeply about those kids, loves those kids and, of course, she was shaken up but I could see nothing she could do any differently,” said McLain.

“As far as the safety of those kids, she did as good as anybody could have done in that situation,” said Wills.

McLain said safety is always of the utmost importance to Greene County Schools.

“We run 80 buses a day. I have a son that rides the bus home quite often,” he said. “We put those buses out there and certainly we want kids to be safe.”

Four students were transported from the scene and an additional two students, as well as Oliver, were treated at the hospital’s emergency room.

According to McLain, the hospital has released four of the six students as two are still receiving treatment for minor injuries.

“I just think that we’re fortunate that all the kids are okay. It could have been a lot worse,” he said.

According to THP, Oliver is charged with failure to exercise due care and financial responsibility.

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