(Bolivar, TN) Five students on a Hardeman County school bus are OK even after a car rammed into the back of their bus on Highway 18.
The bus was stopping to pick up another student when the crash happened around 7:30 am.
The impact sent the car completely under the rear of the bus, trapping the driver.
It took rescue crews nearly 30-minutes to free 25-year-old Kenneth Wilkes, who was airlifted to The MED in critical condition.
The bus was carrying five students, as young as Pre-K and as old as high school, when it made a stop on Highway 18 at Dowdy Road to pick up another student.
Steven Gibson, Assistant Director of Physical Services for Hardeman County Schools, says the youngster waiting for the bus moved quickly to avoid injury, “Fortunately the student, based on what the bus driver said, the student appeared to see the car coming , stopped and began to back away from the bus. And then the car hit the bus.”
Gibson says the students were en route to Bolivar Elementary, Bolivar Middle and Bolivar Central High School.
None of the students were hurt.
It’s unknown why the driver of the car ran into the back of the bus on a section of highway where there are no hills, or curves.
Gibson says the bus driver told him northbound traffic had already stopped to allow the bus to pick up a student when the crash happened, “The indication is everything was working correctly with the lights and the stop sign and so-forth on the bus.”
Lynn White has been a Hardeman County school bus driver for 21-years.
He also owns the wrecker company in Bolivar where Kenneth Wilkes’ car was brought Monday morning.
White says his heart skipped a beat when he was called to the crash site, “When I got there and seen the bus up in the air and the car under it, I was just hoping all the kids was okay.”
The accident is still under investigation.