Parents of Woodmore Elementary students reflect on tragic Chattanooga crash

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Some parents of Woodmore Elementary School students are speaking out after five children from the school died in a bus crash Monday.

Demetrius Jenkins said he knew something was wrong when he was driving down Talley Road in Chattanooga on Monday.

”As I was going home, I saw streets blocked off, and I was thinking, ‘What is going on? What is going on?’ Because I just saw a school bus go there two minutes before,” he told News 2.

That devastating crash was the reason the road was shut down. The bus lost control, veering off the road and ended up wrapped around a tree.

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

”You never know when it is your child’s last moment and you have to spend it with them,” said Jenkins.

”It is the toughest thing you will ever do in your life and there are no words you can say, but let me say this. Our hearts are going out with the families,” said Dr. Kirk Kelly, interim superintendent for Hamilton County Schools.

More than 35 elementary school students were on the bus. Many were rushed to the hospital, but five didn’t make it.

On Tuesday, at Woodmore Elementary School, students walked to school with their parents close by. Less than 100 students attended; there are usually 315.

”I know he is going to be full of tears,” said Jenkins. “I just know he will be full of tears. I mean, this is a person he has known since he was first born. I mean, not even at this school, they grew up together.”

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

It can be hard to make a child understand a tragic event like this, but explaining a tragedy to a child as an adult can sometimes be even harder.

”There are a million things going through my head,” said Jenkins. “There are a million things going through my head, I am not going to lie. I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t even know how to explain it to him.”

It’s an explanation that won’t be easy for anyone involved.

”My mind is now on supporting these families and in any way I can help,” said Jenkins.

News 2 also spoke with a local pastor who said he brought his whole staff to Woodmore Elementary on Tuesday.

“We just want to be here today and just want to be here to serve however we can help—pray for people, get food for people, just talk or be a listening ear,” Tavner Smith said.

“We’re just looking for a way to do our part and let people know that that these lives matter,” he added.

Smith said they plan to stay at the school as long as they need them to, as long as help is needed.

“It’s devastating. I can’t imagine what the families are going through right now. To lose a child, period, and right here the week of Thanksgiving, heading into the holidays,” he said. “You know, you send your kids to school and you think you’re going to see them that evening.”

Click here to follow News 2’s continuing coverage of the school bus crash.