Surveillance footage captured the moment a Texas school bus veered off the road and crashed, causing 52 middle and high school students – including the driver – to become momentarily trapped inside, according to Fox News.
At around 3:30 p.m. on Friday, September 23, school bus driver Brenda Armster — who was covering for another driver — was taking 52 students home from a Crosby school when tragedy struck.
In the footage, the driver — who has 25 years of experience — can be heard asking the students, while looking through the mirror as she traveled at least 50 mph, if anyone was getting out at the next stop before losing control of the school bus, causing it to overturn into a ditch on FM 1942 at Bohemian Hall Road.
Students could be heard screaming in horror as they were thrown to the right side of the bus. Armster was protected by her seatbelt, but as soon as she unbuckled it, she fell on top of the doors.
Witness Damon Martin told reporters that a truck in the opposite lane of the school bus had stopped to make a turn. Since the driver was reportedly distracted and didn’t see the truck, Armster had to swerve in order to avoid hitting the truck, which caused her to lose control.
“When I saw everything happen, I dropped everything and ran over there,” said Martin. “We took down the back door and we were using the back door to go inside and get everybody out to make sure they were safely put away from the scene.”
“They [the students] were pretty frantic. Some of them, it’s probably some of the worse stuff that has ever happened to them. I mean, it’s pretty scary getting in a school bus, not having seat belts, you know the bus turned over on its side, windows breaking. You know it’s in a ditch that is filled with water.”
Another witness, who asked to remain anonymous, stated, “I saw the bus. It was flipped. Kids were in and out of the bus. I stopped to render aid. There were so many people there. They said they got it. I went ahead and left. There were kids on the ground, bleeding, crying, and screaming.”
Sixteen students, including the driver, were injured in the crash and were transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. Everyone is expected to make a full recovery.
James Beights, whose truck the school bus driver was trying to avoid hitting, told reporters that he “was stopped, waiting on traffic to turn onto my driveway.” He went on to say that the driver “was probably going too fast, she couldn’t break, couldn’t stop, swerved and that’s how they ended up in the ditch.”
He immediately got out of his vehicle after witnessing the crash and helped the driver and the 52 middle and high school students. However, he thinks the driver “should be fired. I’m sorry, but her job is to keep the children on the bus safe.”
“She can’t be asking questions of the children while driving 50, 60 miles an hour in the rain with that many on board.”
According to the Express, parents were outraged after learning about the school bus crash via social media.
Weeks after the crash, the school district released surveillance footage that showed what happened inside of the school bus when the driver lost control, causing the bus to overturn in a ditch.
The school district stated that the driver, as well as all who helped with the crash, “showed tremendous composure and maturity.”
The school’s superintendent, Keith Moore, stated, “We regret the accident occurred, and we will use this as an opportunity to train and improve for the future. The safety of our students is vitally important to Crosby Independent Schools District.”
Reporters tried to speak with the driver of the school bus, but she declined to release a statement.
As of yet, investigators have not cited Armster for the school bus crash.
[Featured Image by iStock Photo/Brandy Taylor]