The Georgia State Patrol today issued citations to four drivers involved in the May 19 school bus crash on Interstate 20 in Newton County that injured 61 people.
The students and chaperones from Burke County Middle School were traveling to Six Flags Over Georgia on six school buses around 10 a.m. when the school buses crashed in the westbound lanes of the interstate just west of the Georgia Highway 11 exit in Newton County.
According to Sergeant Matt Gunnin, assistant post commander of the Georgia State Patrol post in Monroe, the buses were traveling in the left lane and traffic began slowing as the buses approached the construction zone where the two lanes were being reduced to one. "The first bus in line began braking for the slowing traffic ahead which caused the other buses to brake," he said. The second bus struck the first bus in the rear. The third and fourth buses moved to the right lane in an attempt to avoid the collision but the fourth bus was hit in the rear by the fifth bus which caused the fourth to hit the third in the rear. The fifth bus continued forward and struck the second bus in the rear. The fifth bus was then hit from behind by the sixth bus and the passenger car struck the rear of the sixth bus.
The four drivers were charged with following too closely, a misdemeanor. The three buses drivers charged are: Betty Harrison Dukes, age 48 from Waynesboro (driver of the second bus); Angela Benjamin Anthony, age 44 from Midville (driver of the fifth bus); and Stephanie D. Pierce, age 37 from Midville (driver of the sixth bus). Also charged is Latarsha Moneek Owens, age 37 from Waynesboro (driver of the 2011 Chevrolet HHR passenger vehicle). The court date is September 18 for all charged in the Newton County Probate Court in Covington.
Most of the injured people were treated and released the day of the crash. The most seriously injured, Angela Benjamin Anthony, has been released from Grady.