At least two people were killed, including a 7-year-old girl, and seven more were injured in a school bus accident in Tennessee on Tuesday evening, officials said.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Bill Miller said at a press conference that a Meigs County school bus carrying 22 children crashed. The school bus was traveling south when a utility service vehicle operated by Service Electric lost control and veered into oncoming traffic. The child and bus driver were killed, Miller said.
Seven other children were injured and hospitalized at Children’s Hospital at Erlander in Chattanooga, including one in critical condition, police said. No other details were immediately available.
Miller added that the bus driver had no opportunity to stop after the utility vehicle swerved into the opposite lane where it side-skidded in front of the bus. The driver of the Service Electric vehicle was treated for minor injuries.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke extended his condolences to the family.
“I’m deeply saddened to hear the news coming out of Meigs County this evening about a serious school bus crash,” Berke said on Twitter. “My thoughts are with these children and their families. Until we have more information, we will hope for the best and keep them in our prayers.”
Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said in a statement that the Department of Education was also “deeply saddened” and speechless about the lives that were lost in the crash.
“We send our deepest condolences to the students, families, school staff and leaders, district staff and the entire Meigs County community affected by this tragic accident and wish healing for all those injured,” Schwinn said.
“The department has communicated with district leaders and staff in Meigs County and surrounding areas and is mobilizing to support this community in safety response and services.”
Local authorities will review whether charges against the driver of the utility service vehicle are warranted pending further investigation.