A Rutherford County parent now refuses to let her son ride the school bus after a bus driver apparently ignored road closure signs and drove over a flooded bridge anyway.
Tiffany Trammell, of Walnut Grove Road, was surprised when her son got off the bus Wednesday afternoon and told her the bus driver drove through high water on the Stones River slab bridge.
"The bus driver had gone over a flooded bridge. There were kids, including him, who were concerned about going over the bridge," Trammell said.
The road-closed signs are still posted, and even though the water has receded, it's still spilling over to the other side.
Several drivers also ignored the signs and took their chances driving through the water covered bridge Thursday morning.
The Rutherford County Swift Water Rescue Team has made countless rescues over the years and said one-inch of fast moving water can sweep away a vehicle, no matter the size or weight.
"We don't know what's underneath that water or how deep it is, so, therefore, we encourage that if it has any moving water across the bridge, we encourage them to turn around," said Chris Clark, with the Rutherford County EMS Special Operations Unit.
Trammell said her son and other students have said this is not the first time the bus driver has driven through high water, even with road-closed signs clearly posted.
School officials said the normal bus driver was on the bus, but his wife was actually driving as a substitute.
School officials told her if the slab was covered with the level of water seen in the photos provided by parents, that she should have taken an alternate route.
The female substitute driver, who is a contract bus owner, told school officials that she understands it can be a hazard but always checks the bridge and did not think it was impassible.
The substitute bus driver also told school officials that sometimes the flip-up road-closed sign can be left activated for more than a week sometimes.
Several students on the bus insisted it was the woman's husband driving the bus Wednesday and not his wife.
That's little comfort to Trammell.
"As of today, we've pulled him off the bus," Trammell said. "He's not happy about it because he loves to ride the bus."
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