DALLAS, Ga. – The driver of a daycare bus was cited in an accident that injured 11 people. Investigators say she made a left-hand turn in front of a tree service truck. That truck driver was also cited for driving on an expired license.
Eleven people were treated after the accident, but all of the injuries were minor.
The intersection where it happened is no stranger to crashes.
There have been 42 traffic accidents at the intersection of Merchants Drive/State Route 6 and Nathan Dean Boulevard/Highway 61 in Paulding County, since 2011 according to the Dallas Police Department. No fatalities were reported in 2016.
The intersection is problematic, Paulding County Police Sgt. Ashley Henson said.
“There actually have been a lot of accidents right here. I don't know what the cause is. I know they actually put a turning light in as you can see behind us, which allows cars to turn left,” Henson said, describing the scene Friday as “pretty chaotic.”
“As you can imagine we had a lot of people who had stopped to assist,” he said. “The children were all out of the bus, they were up by the side of the road. They were very distraught--seemed dazed and disoriented. The driver of the day care bus, she also seemed to be in a significant amount of pain.”
Eight children, ages 6-10, were taken by ambulance to WellStar Paulding Hospital and parents picked up two children from the scene. The daycare’s driver, 50-year-old Tracy Moreland, of Dallas, Ga., was taken to WellStar Cobb Hospital.
The driver of the pick-up truck, Harry Martin, 34, of Lithia Springs, Ga., and his passenger, Brendon Gates, 35, of Dallas, Ga., had fairly significant injuries, and were transported to WellStar Kennestone Hospital, Henson said.
It all happened at about 7:15 a.m., when Dallas Police responded to crash between a Paulding Preparatory Academy daycare bus and a Lee's Tree Service pick-up truck.
According to the Georgia State Patrol, the daycare bus, a 2004 GMC Cutaway, was traveling westbound on Merchants Drive in the left turn lane. The Moreland did not see the 2005 Dodge Dakota truck traveling east, and turned in front of it at Nathan Deal Boulevard, according to the GSP. The Dodge hit the van head-on.
Moreland was charged with failure to yield while turning left.
Martin was also charged with driving with an expired license.
“We're just very glad that the children seem to be OK,” Henson said.
Eight of the 10 children had minor injuries and have been released. The bus driver has also been released, her family said. GSP officials report she was not injured. And according tree service’s owner, the two men from the truck are still getting X-rays.
As part of their procedure, Bright from the Start, a department with the State of Georgia, will investigate the crash.
But according to inspections conducted by Bright from the Start, Paulding Preparatory Academy is currently in good standing, with one transportation violation reported.
Their last regulatory visit was in October 2016 and they were cited for missing arrival/departure times on transportation logs.
The daycare’s buses are also inspected by Bright from the Start twice a year without notice. No citations are on record for the daycare.
Paulding Preparatory Academy has made no comment at this time.
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