Girl, bus driver dead after school bus crash in Meigs County

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating after a 7-year-old girl and a school bus driver died in a crash in Meigs County.

Director of Schools Clint Baker talked about the support they have received after two people died and seven students were taken to the hospital after the crash on Tuesday.

“We've had an outpouring of love and offers of assistance from this area, across the state, across the nation actually. It warms your heart during a lot of the things that we've been going through as a nation to be a part of that and to have that kind of support and we will need that for some time to come,” Baker said.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol said a school bus collided with a utility service vehicle at 7751 State Highway 58. There were 24 kids and one driver on board the bus, according to the THP.

The preliminary report stated the utility service truck driven by Terry Trammell, 56, of Grandview, TN, was travelling north on State Highway 58 and the bus, driven by Lisa Dillard, 53, of Birchwood, TN was headed southbound. Trammell's truck ran off the side of the road, over-corrected to get back on the road and lost control of the vehicle. The truck entered the southbound lane where it was struck by the bus.

Four students remain in the hospital in stable condition and one student was critical, but stable as of Tuesday night, Baker said. Three students have been released from the hospital, Baker said. There were 15 students who were not injured.

“Everyone’s hearts and minds and prayers are with the children and those that lost loved ones,” Baker said. “Ask that folks that God’s grace and love and comfort will surround those families.”

Dillard died as a result of the crash. The 7-year-old who died was not identified by the THP. Baker said Dillard had driven buses for Meigs County for the past three years.  

“She was an outstanding driver, but an even better person. Gonna miss her,” Baker said.

Students learned remotely on Wednesday and the State Department of Education was in Meigs County.

A crisis team was deployed to Meigs County to meet with teachers and students who wanted to talk. On Wednesday, school officials met with bus drivers who were hurting as well.

“We’ve got a hurt school community and need everyone’s prayers to get back to where we need to be,” Baker said.

On Thursday, they will have a counselor on the bus route that was impacted, and the school will have extra staff on each bus.

“We’re all holding up. You learn a lot about yourselves when you go through these things. Go through a little bit of shock,” Baker said.

The school bus, which does not have seat belts, is in Chattanooga at TDOT in the custody of Tennessee Highway Patrol. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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