HAZLEHURST, MS (WLBT) - Hazlehurst City Schools Conservator Glenn Swan says he checked the private cell phone records of the driver of bus 8604 to make his determination.
"I will state categorically that the driver was not using his cell phone at the time of the accident. He was not speaking on his cell phone, he was not text messaging," Swan says.
The accident at Gallatin and Monticello streets Tuesday morning sent more than a dozen children to the hospital, just to be checked out. No one was seriously hurt, but the rumor mill has been spinning that the driver had been texting behind the wheel.
What really caused the minor collision is not yet known, but it might be do to the way the roads are designed. The car was heading north, coming over the high crest of the Gallatin Street bridge. The bus was on street level on Monticello Street, and was heading east through the intersection when the accident occurred.
Motorists say the bus driver may not have seen the car until it was too late. "If the people are coming too fast over the bridge, it's always gonna be a problem," says motorist Don Harris.
Right now, Mississippi's only texting while driving law prohibits people with an intermediate license or a learner's permit from using a cell phone behind the wheel. Representative Billy Broomfield of Moss Point has introduced legislation in the past to ban texting and driving in Mississippi, but his attempts have failed in committee.
While there's no written policy against texting and driving within the Hazlehurst School District, Swan says the practice would have consequences. "We will conduct driver training as soon as this week to remind them cell phone usage on school buses is prohibited in the Hazlehurst City Schools," Swan says.
The accident is still under investigation. Swan should determine this week whether the driver should be sanctioned in any way.
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