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Update: THP releases more detailed report on deadly Meigs Co. school bus crash

Meigs County school bus being towed away 10.27.2020 - Tennessee Highway Patrol.png
The Meigs County school system and Tennessee Highway Patrol have released more information on the tragedy that claimed the lives of a young student and a bus driver, and injured seven others on Tuesday, October 27, 2020. (Image: Tennessee Highway Patrol)

UPDATE (November 12th):

The Tennessee Highway Patrol has released a more detailed report on the crash. (Read it in full below).

The new report still doesn't reveal what caused a truck driver to lose control and hit the school bus.

The crash killed the bus driver... and a seven-year-old student on board.

The THP report says a service utility truck was heading northbound on Highway 58.

The report says the truck drove over the line onto the northbound side, went off the road and into small dirt and grass ditch line.

It says the driver came back on to the road where it lost control, started sliding sideways and went into the southbound lane.

That's when troopers say it hit the bus.

The THP report says the students on the bus's ages ranged from six-to-17.

Read the full report below:

Depend on us to bring you updates as we learn more.

PREVIOUSLY:

The Meigs County school system and Tennessee Highway Patrol have released more information on the tragedy that claimed the lives of a young student and a bus driver, and injured seven others.

"Our school community lost a wonderful, dedicated employee and most importantly a friend to schools and children, and we also lost a beautiful 7-year-old girl," said Director of Schools Clint Baker.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol said that at 2:45 pm CST/3:45 pm EST Tuesday, a Service Electric utility vehicle was driving on Highway 58 in Decatur when the driver ran off the side of the road, over-corrected to get back on the road, and then lost control. THP says the vehicle went into oncoming traffic and crashed into Meigs County school bus #12-1.

A preliminary report Tennessee Highway Patrol Lieutenant Bill Miller released Wednesday identified the bus driver as 53-year-old Lisa Dillard of Birchwood, Tennessee. THP says the other driver, Terry Trammell, was also injured. At this time, she faces no charges, and the THP says this remains an active investigation.

Service Electric provided us with a statement Wednesday evening, confirming that one of their employees had been involved in the crash. "The investigation is ongoing, and so our ability to provide information is limited," the statement reads, "We are assisting law enforcement authorities in the ongoing investigation, and our hearts and prayers go out to those involved in the accident."

Baker updated the information we were given yesterday, now saying a total of 32 people were on board the bus at the time of the crash, including Dillard. There was a mix of ages on the bus since it has cross routes from elementary, middle and high schools in Meigs County. Baker said the students were age 7 and up into high school.

Baker said of the other seven students who were injured in the deadly wreck, four students remain in the hospital as of Wednesday afternoon.

Related: Deadly school bus crash in Meigs County prompts rush of volunteers to donate blood

The Director of Schools spoke about the aftermath of the crash.

"When I got there... there were high school students and middle school students caring for the youngest... sorry I'm emotional, but if you could have seen it you would understand," said Baker.

Baker spoke about bus driver Lisa Dillard Wednesday, saying "she was an outstanding driver, but an even better person."

Today, he is asking for your prayers.

"We have a lot of drivers hurting. We've got a hurt school community and we're going to need everybody's prayers and support to get everybody back where they need to be," said Baker.

Related: Grief-stricken community holds candlelight vigil after Meigs County school bus crash

Baker says he wants to express sincere gratitude to Hamilton County Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson for meeting him at the hospital and staying into the late hours, giving advice since they had been through something similar with the Woodmore bus crash on November 21st, 2016.

Students were on a remote learning day Wednesday, but the district's crisis team went to Meigs South Elementary to speak to staff, bus drivers, and any students that wanted to come in and talk. He says additional counselors will be on site Thursday.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) confirmed they had opened a safety investigation into the crash.

Governor Bill Lee, during his weekly press briefing on Wednesday, asked everyone in the state to pray for the families and community impacted.

"Our neighbors are hurting in Meigs County as a result of the accident, the bus crash in Decatur. Maria and I are praying for the families, and we ask Tennesseans to do that," Gov. Lee said.

Baker says as they grieve, they are working to find a way back to a sense of normalcy.

He says at the elementary school today, a young first grade student looked up at his teacher and said, "I'm coming to school tomorrow, and I'm riding the bus."

"Just pray for our community," Baker concluded.
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