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SUNDAY, JANUARY 21, 2007
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Danville parents alarmed about school bus bump

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com· 340-2355

DANVILLE — Some parents grew upset Friday after their children told them about a mishap on their bus ride home.

Bruce Kimbrell, transportation and maintenance director for Morgan County Schools, said he is investigating the incident, in which Bus No. 7 ran partially off the road while turning onto Johnson Chapel Road from Danville Road.

Substitute bus driver Connie Borden said a truck pulled up to the stop sign where Johnson Chapel angles into Danville Road, forcing her to make the turn more sharply than usual. The bus’s right rear wheel went off the road into a ditch.

“There was no safety issue there — we just missed a little bit of pavement. There was no accident at all. I didn’t even have to slow down, and the bus behind me didn’t have to slow down,” Borden said.

The back end of the bus took most of the shock, bouncing some of the students into the air.

Some of the students were scared, but soon settled back down, she said.

The bus was not damaged, Borden said.

“The kids weren’t complaining. Some of them even asked, ‘Can we do it again?’ And I said, ‘No, that wasn’t supposed to happen,’ ” Borden said.

Mandy Newbauer and Diane Lawrence, both of Danville, contacted school officials about the incident Friday afternoon. Each had two children aboard the bus, which carries students from Danville High, Danville Middle and Danville Elementary schools.

“Do they just let anybody drive these buses? We had kids flown out of their seats,” Newbauer said.

Kimbrell said Borden is licensed by the state and has been fully trained to drive the buses. However, she is not a county schools employee and cannot be disciplined.

“There’s nothing I can do about what happened. The question here is, ‘Is this driver competent enough to drive for us?’ We’ll have to examine her skills and determine if she’s going to be able to drive,” he said.

Borden said she understands parents’ concerns.

“Their kids are in our hands. We don’t take that lightly, either,” she said, adding that her own son, a Danville High student, was aboard the bus Friday.

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