NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Two people are in critical but stable condition after multiple students were hurt when a Chester County school bus was involved in a rollover accident on Interstate 65 North Friday morning.
It happened around 10:45 a.m. near Briley Parkway. Officials told News 2 the bus driver, 28-year-old Christina Mathis, of Henderson, Tennessee, lost control of the bus before the crash.
Mathis was involved in a property damage accident case in August of this year, according to a report from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
“She initially told our officers that as she got off the ramp, she felt some steering issues. She also felt the wind blowing. It’s clear to us by the tracks that you see she lost control,” explained Don Aaron, with Metro police.
Three students said they were talking to each other one minute and falling out of their seats the next.
“All I remember is kind of sliding to the middle, and then we got jerked back, and everyone fell on top of each other and we slid across the exit ramp,” said Joseph Egros.
According to the Nashville Fire Department, 46 people were on the bus at the time, including 43 students, two chaperones and the driver.
Twenty-three were injured and transported by ambulance to local hospitals. The other 20 were taken to a hospital as a precaution due to the speed the bus was traveling when it crashed.
Many of those taken by ambulance were not seriously hurt and the worst injuries appeared to be a broken collarbone and two serious arm injuries. Others included bumps, bruises and broken toes. Authorities said none of the injuries seemed to be life-threatening.
Five students remain hospitalized at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, all of which have been upgraded to stable condition.
Other students were taken to TriStar Skyline Medical Center and TriStar Centennial Medical Center.
The associate medical director at Skyline told News 2 they had to shift some patients to make room for the students.
“We did have to move some of the patients that were on the front side of the ER, but all the patients were really good-natured about it and understood that it was a major trauma,” Dr. Michael Hasty explained.
Two other buses were traveling with the school bus involved in the accident. One of those drivers, Jimmy Howard, saw the accident happen. He told News 2 it was scary to watch.
“It could have been worse. It could have been a lot worse than it was, but I don’t know. I guess God was in the plan,” said Howard.
The students were believed to be headed to a BETA Club Convention at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.
Multiple emergency crews and at least nine ambulances responded to the scene of the accident.
In a tweet shortly after the accident, the Nashville Fire Department asked Nashvillians for “patience if they’re awaiting medical care as we have several ambulances attending to injured children in this crash.”
News 2 reached out to the Chester County Schools district. They said they are aware of the accident and are working to gather information. Director of Schools, Troy Kilzer, is expected to issue a statement when more details are available.
Metro Schools spokesman Joe Bass said their district sent a bus to the accident scene to help transport the students who were uninjured. They were taken to Metro’s east precinct.
The American Red Cross is assisting students.
Chester County, Tennessee, is located about 140 miles west of Nashville.