ANNA, Tex. ― Authorities say they have ruled out one of the possible causes of last week's school bus crash in Anna that sent more than a dozen children to area hospitals and left parents and authorities wondering if it could have been avoided. Rita Kotey spoke with Anna police.
It's more like they know what did not cause the crash. Now police say they are piecing together the information to determine who or what did cause the accident.
Seventeen students were taken to area hospitals after their school bus hit a guardrail and crashed into a utility pole last Wednesday. Another student was taken to a hospital later that night.
Officials with the Anna Police Department say the school bus driver, 65-year-old Jackie Dobson, claimed the crash happened because of a mechanical error with the steering wheel, but police say they are not so sure.
“From our investigation the inspections done by licensed TX-DOT inspectors, there was no mechanical issues with that school bus," Sergeant Jeff Caponera with the Anna Police Department says,
Sgt. Caponera their investigation has proven the problem occurred when the bus was going over the bridge.
"The reason he wasn’t able to steer the bus is because the bus was stuck on the guardrail and the wheels kept getting tied up underneath the guardrail."
Anna Independent School District superintendent Dr. Joe Wardell says he was concerned when he heard the news of the crash.
"The first thing we worry about is how are the kids, and are they being taken care of the way that they should," Dr. Wardell said.
Local school districts like Anna employ drivers and buses from First Student, a contract bus service out of McKinney. We spoke with Jody Wolverton, the contract manager for First Student.
"We are fully cooperating with the current police investigation and will also conduct a through investigation of our own. The driver has been suspended pending the investigation of both."
Sgt. Caponera says if their investigation proves the crash was caused by bus driver error, Dobson could face more than just suspension from the workplace.
"If it was driver error, it could range anywhere from a simple Class C traffic citation to a felony of child endangerment," Sgt. Caponera says.
Officials say they are hoping to get an additional statement from Dobson. They say they are also looking into whether or not a car that was passing the bus on the bridge at the time could have had an effect on the accident.