Parents unaware bus hit power line

February 28, 2008 5:21:24 PM PST
A Cumberland County school bus ripped down power lines while taking students home.

Parents are angry because the school didn't tell them about the dangerous situation and some children didn't get home for hours.

One parent told Eyewitness News that an 8-year-old hit her head when the bus driver slammed on brakes Monday after realizing she had pulled down the power line.

Parents say the bus was energized with 15 children on board as it continued to barrel down the road with the power line dangling.

Charles Jackson and his family are furious. His daughter, Tierra Cooper, is a student at Westarea Elementary School.

The second grader normally gets home from school around 3 p.m. Jackson and his wife knew something was wrong when Tierra's school bus didn't show up on time.

"She made a call," he said. "I made a call. They told my wife that the mirror on the bus was missing. They had to fix it because they wasn't allowed to drive the bus without a mirror on the bus."

Jackson says that was only half the truth. He says Bus 306 had pulled down power lines to a house on Gardenia Ave.

"And according to some of the kids on the bus, even my daughter, they say they saw sparks," Jackson said. "When I got there, my daughter was crying and she was frantic. I asked her what was wrong. She said she was scared and that she had hit her face on the window when she [the bus driver] had slammed on brakes."

It was nearly 4 p.m. before a neighbor, not school administrators, told the family what happened.

Principal Allie Hill admits she made a mistake by not using the automated telephone system, which allows her to send messages to the homes of all of her students.

"We call our parents to let them know about different functions at our school," Hill said. "And again, we did not use it on Monday. But let me reassure my parents again that we will use that instrument if this ever happens again."

The family says they took Tierra to the emergency room after the accident. She still has a headache but they think she's going to be OK. PWC says the bus pulled down Time Warner Cable wire, which in turn pulled down their electrical wire.


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