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Fatal Bus Crash in Fulton County

June 20, 2017

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that investigators are not seeking criminal charges at this time for any of the motorists involved in the tragic bus crash that killed a 17-year-old girl. The bus and two other vehicles were involved in the crash that occurred on Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Fulton County. Investigators were waiting for the medical condition of the bus driver to improve so they could conduct a thorough investigation.

The charter bus that rolled over was carrying student missionaries and their chaperones to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport when the wreck happened. The group departed from their church in Huntsville, AL earlier in the day. The group was boarding a plane to go to Africa on a mission trip. Thirty-seven passengers were on board of the bus. Their ages ranged from 16 to 71.

Investigators know preliminarily how the accident occurred. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the bus was headed easterly on Camp Creek Parkway in Fulton County around 4:00 in the afternoon. The bus driver attempted to change lanes, the bus struck a Chrysler 200 sedan. The collision with the Chrysler caused the bus driver to over correct to the left and the driver lost control over the bus, causing it to travel through the median and roll over.  The wreck culminated in a collision with a Mercedes sedan that headed west on the Parkway. Both drivers of the Chrysler and the Mercedes suffered injuries in the crash. The hospitals at which the drivers were treated released them as of Friday evening.

All 38 people on board the charter bus suffered some degree of injury. Although tragic, it is also a miracle that others were not killed. First responders flooded the scene and took the wounded to area hospitals. Firefighters used the Jaws of Life to extricate one bus passenger and the driver of the Mercedes. First responders needed less than an hour to remove all living occupants from the charter bus. At least three wounded were med-flighted to an area hospital. Only nine people remained hospitalized within two days of the crash.

Fulton County law enforcement officials continue to investigate the cause of the crash. They had planned to perform the accident reconstruction analysis within a day or so of the crash. News outlets initially reported that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) would conduct the investigation. While the NTSB may carry out an investigation for their own purposes, the Fulton County investigators have primary jurisdiction over the investigation.

The fatalities and the number of critically injured patients could have been much higher without the quick work of the first responders and hospitals. The Fire Chief explained that the scene was chaotic, but first responders receive training on responding to disaster situations. That training helps them bring calm to the chaos and get right to work saving lives. Local hospitals also work on large-scale disaster training and protocols.

Sadly, the 17-year-old girl who perished in the crash never made it to the hospital for treatment. She was tragically pronounced dead at the scene. 

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