The Washington County, TN Sheriff’s Office says a woman is facing charges after a 10-year-old boy was hit by a car while boarding Washington County, TN Schools’ bus number 32.
The sheriff’s office says 41-year-old Crystal Buchanan, of Jonesborough, has been charged with felony reckless endangerment and illegal passing of a school bus or failure to yield to a stopped school bus.
According to WCSO, the child was transported to Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City.
“Well, you’re horrified when you know that one of your students has been struck by an automobile – that honestly, the driver should have known better,” said Jarrod Adams Special Projects Manager at Washington County, TN Schools. “Knowing that the bus had come to a complete stop, that the red lights were flashing, the stop sign was deployed, and still, the driver finds it necessary to go around the bus. It’s horrific! It’s frustrating because kids are at risk and one split-second decision could ruin not only the driver’s life but could cause a student to lose their life.”
Washington County, TN Schools Superintendent Bill Flanary told us the child was taken to the hospital “as a precaution.”
It happened on Highway 81 South near Jim Towne Road shortly after 6:30 this morning when the young boy was crossing the road from his house to get on the school bus. The boy was struck by the passing car, a Mitsubishi Lancer, driven by Buchanan.
“He was down at the road waiting for the bus to arrive. When the bus was actually there … he was crossing the street to get on the bus and the car didn’t stop,” said the boy’s grandmother Barbara Hutton. “They just came on around the bus.”
The sheriff’s office says the school bus was stopped in the road with its stop sign and red lights flashing when the boy was hit.
Hutton, the boy’s grandmother, said she saw the car hit her grandson.
“I saw [it happen]…I ran to him, [because] it knocked him off the road into the ditch line,” said Hutton. “…I just went to him to comfort him and to see how bad he was.”
Other students were on board the bus when the child was hit. The bus went on and transported them to school.
School officials say that the boy will most likely be OK. A deputy on the scene told News Channel 11 the child was alert and talking as he was being transported to the hospital.
“He’s doing as well as we expected, I guess under the circumstances. He’s suffering and uncomfortable, -under the circumstances, I think he’s doing fairly well,” said the boy’s grandmother.
The Washington County, TN Sheriff’s Office tells us this is an active investigation, and investigators talked to Buchanan.
Investigators say the school bus driver was not at fault.
Adams with Washington County, TN Schools says the number one complaint among Washington County bus drivers is people running their stops signs.
“It’s a danger to them and you know I feel really bad for the student, I feel bad for the bus driver because you know she is horrified that she’s done everything she’s supposed to do to keep the children safe and still somebody you know puts that student in harm’s way'” said Adams.
Buchanan is reportedly out of jail after posting bail of $1000 and is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.
“I offer my prayers and support to this young man, his family, and friends, as well as the students and bus driver who witnessed this unfortunate accident,” said State Representative Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough). “I’ve prioritized school bus safety for the students of our community throughout my time serving in our General Assembly, and my colleagues and I will continue to fight for additional resources during the upcoming legislative session in order to ensure similar incidents are avoided in the future.”
We are in your corner following this developing story. Hear more from the grandmother and school administrators tonight on the news at 5:00 p.m. And you can follow this story on our Facebook page.