By Bobbie Poynter
Knox County school officials praise the efforts of the veteran bus driver involved in an accident this morning in the Big Beech area of Dewitt in Knox County.
According to Knox County Schools Public Relations Director Frank Shelter, the bus driver, Donnie Mills, is a veteran Knox County bus driver with no prior history of accidents.
“Mills is an experienced driver who knows these roads quite well,” said Shelton. “He’s been navigating the backroads with the log trucks for several years and knows how to handle his bus.”
Of the eight children on the bus, seven were on their way to Dewitt Elementary and one to Knox Middle School. After the bus driver helped the children exit the bus through the emergency exit door, they were escorted back down to the bottom of the hill.
The road into the hollow where the bus was traveling was a one-lane gravel road, and school officials believe the edge of the road simply gave way causing the bus to gradually slide into the ditch and come to a gradual stop.
“This is the worst season for roads,” said Shelton. “They become slushy and slick with mud. But, our drivers are well trained, and the training has paid off as the driver was able to get the kids out of the bus quickly and safely.”
One child, transported by Knox County Ambulance to the Knox County Hospital complaining of pain in his back, was treated and released. The other seven children were released to their parents at the scene.
Following standard procedure, the bus driver has been sent for a drug test.
Stinking Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Knox County Ambulance, and the Knox County Sheriff’s Department assisted at the scene.