Children sent to hospital after car hits school bus

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Several students were taken to the hospital after a Tuesday morning school bus accident.

The crash happened near Whitten and Reese.

"I'm thinking it's just a little fender bender. I didn't know it was this serious," Annette Harrison said.

Kate Bond Elementary School students, dressed in their uniforms, stood behind yellow tape after their bus was involved in the nasty crash.

"The first thing I text her back and asked was the babies OK," Harrison recalled.

Harrison said the Durham School Services bus driver is her daughter who has been on the job for about four years.

"She loved those kids on the bus. She loved those kids," Harrison said.

Police said the SUV hit the back of the bus around 8:00 a.m.

The crash hurt two children and an adult.

"That's when she broke down when she realized there was kids in the car," Harrison described.

"That's a number one priority no matter where you are -- safety is an issue," Sandra Burgess said.

The memory of Durham's problems in past years is ingrained in parent's minds.

The bus company is plagued with a series of crashes over the years, staffing troubles, and a handful of drivers breaking the law.

"Oh, that's very important. That's one reason why I take my child," Burgess told WREG.

While Durham could not provide the number of crashes from previous years, Shelby County Schools says it sent benchmarks to track the company's performance last year.

The goal was to have fewer than nine preventable accidents per month, and last school year, Durham had eight preventable crashes the entire year.

"That's always consoling to hear that when they hear a problem that they are working to make it better. That's always a first step and a lot of times things aren't changed within a day," Burgess told WREG.

A spokesperson for Durham School Services e-mailed the following statement to WREG after our story aired at 4:00 p.m.:

The safety of our students is our top priority. As such, our highly trained drivers are required to undergo 20 hours of classroom training as well as a minimum of 20 hours behind-the-wheel, before they are allowed to drive for Durham School Services. We also have a state-of-the-art school bus simulator in Memphis which allows our drivers to further their defensive driving skills. Furthermore, in order to remain qualified as one of our school bus drivers, all drivers must participate in at least 10 hours of in-service training per school year. This can be accomplished through attending mandatory safety meetings, special driver seminars and workshops.