Sumter Co. school bus accident claims one life

Published 5:12 pm Thursday, October 8, 2009

YORK — One person was killed and 34 Sumter County students were taken to hospitals following a head-on collision between a car and a Sumter County school bus at about 7 a.m. Thursday.

Officials have identified 20-year-old Venus Alis Fore, formerly of Foley and reported to be living in the York area, as the driver of the vehicle that struck the school bus head-on. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The 34 students and the bus driver were taken to Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital in Demopolis and to Hill Hospital in York as a precautionary measure. They were all treated and released.

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The accident took place at the intersection of Sumter County Road 19 and Millville Road near York. The bus was northbound on Millville, while the other vehicle was southbound on CR 19, coming out of a curve.

The bus was en route to York West End Junior High School and Sumter County High School.

Sumter County Schools superintendent Dr. Fred Primm Jr. said the school schedules would not change for Friday, but that counselors would be available to any student.

“We will leave it up to the parents,” he said. “It would be up to their discretion if they will bring the students back or not. Our hope is to have additional counselors. We’re going to try to reach out to the mental health center to see if we can get any help from them.

“There may be some students who were not on the bus but may still have been traumatized by the accident. We ask those students to make sure that their counselor at their school knows or let their principal know. We can come in and talk with them.”

Primm said that he wanted to assure the parents of the students that the school system takes many precautions in terms of safety, and that was shown by the bus driver involved in the accident.

“The officials on the site commended the bus driver and said that he did an outstanding job to minimize the collateral damage that we did have,” Primm said. “I spoke with the driver on the site. He was able to pull out reports so that we could get the names of the students. The principals were there, the counselors were there, our transportation supervisor was there — everyone was on the spot and working with the local officials and did exactly what they were supposed to do. You can’t simulate something like this, but they all did an outstanding job.

“Our hope is always that no accidents take place, and that no fatalities take place. It is very unfortunate, and we just want to extend our condolences to the family of the other driver.”

More information about the accident will be available on Friday.

[Some information for this story was provided by Tommy McGraw of the Sumter County Record-Journal.]