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NTSB releases preliminary report on Meigs Co. deadly bus crash

A utility truck driver was traveling north on State Highway 58 when the vehicle drifted off the right edge of the pavement and the right tires went into the ditch.

The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on the October deadly school bus crash in Meigs County.

According to the report, a utility truck driver was traveling north on State Highway 58 when the vehicle drifted off the right edge of the pavement and the right tires went into the ditch.

The truck driver reported that it happened while he looked in his mirror.

As the driver steered back onto the roadway, the truck yawed in a counterclockwise direction and crossed into the southbound lane in front of the school bus.

NTSB is continuing to investigate the crash.


PREVIOUS STORY: The deadly school bus crash in Meigs County continues to make headlines across the region after a 53-year-old driver and 7-year-old girl were killed.

A utility truck hit the bus head-on. School officials held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to provide an update.

It was an emotional half-hour. Clint Baker, director of schools in Meigs County, choked up multiple times when speaking of the lives lost and how heartbroken the community is.

“Our hearts are heavy and they will be for some time,” Baker said.

Clint Baker tearfully spoke out for the first time Wednesday about the school bus crash that claimed two lives.

“The school, the community lost a wonderful and dedicated employee and most importantly a friend to our schools and children,” Baker said.

The bus driver, 53-year-old Lisa Dillard, was killed in the crash and so was a young girl.

“We also lost a beautiful seven-year-old, little seven-year-old girl,” he said.

Four students are still in hospitals in Chattanooga, all in stable condition. Three have already been released.

The ages of those students range from seven years to high school. Baker says the older students on the bus responding need quickly to comfort the younger children.

“When I got there, there were several of the older kids holding some of the younger kids. For lack of a better term bandaid material on their arms and things,” Baker said.

Like most school buses in the state, there were no seatbelts on the bus.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

PREVIOUS STORY: The National Transportation Safety Board is opening an investigation of Tuesday's deadly Meigs County school bus crash, the agency announced Wednesday afternoon.

A preliminary report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol said a utility truck was traveling north on Highway 58 when it ran off the side of the road. The driver overcorrected to return to the road, losing control and entering the southbound lane where it struck the school bus.

The report confirmed the school driver's identity as 53-year-old Lisa Dillard. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.

NTSB said its investigation is in coordination with THP and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. An NTSB investigator arrived on the scene Wednesday morning.

PREVIOUS STORY: The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating a crash involving a Meigs County school bus on Tuesday evening that killed two people, including one student.

The crash happened in the 7700 block of Highway 58 in Decatur.

A THP spokesperson says a truck belonging to Service Electric Co. was traveling north on Highway 58 when the driver lost control and hit school bus 12-1.

The THP says 22 children were on the bus at the time of the crash.

The THP says the female bus driver and a 7-year-old girl on the bus were killed as a result.

The THP says five children from the bus were flown to a hospital and two more children were taken from the scene by ambulance.

The THP says several other people involved in the crash were injured and at least one person is in critical condition.

The THP says the bus driver was traveling in her lane and had no time to avoid the crash.

The names of the people involved have not been released at this time.

The investigation is ongoing.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn sent the following statement on the crash:

“I and the entire staff at the Tennessee Department of Education are deeply saddened to hear about the fatal bus crash in Meigs County earlier this afternoon. No words can express our sympathies for those lives that were lost. We send our deepest condolences to the students, families, school staff and leaders, district staff and the entire Meigs County community affected by this tragic accident and wish healing for all those injured. The department has communicated with district leaders and staff in Meigs County and surrounding areas and is mobilizing to support this community in safety response and services."

This story was originally reported by WRCB.