A school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee slammed into a tree and split apart Monday, killing at least six children, according to the CNN report. The bus was carrying 35 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The Woodmore Elementary bus driver was arrested and charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving. The crash injured at least 23.
Authorities are saying that speed is being investigated as a factor in the crash. A witness says she heard a boom, just before 3:30 p.m., and the crash was so strong that it knocked her power out. Parents and first responders rushed to the scene. The firefighters reportedly “worked for hours” to remove the 35 children trapped inside the bus. Five children died on the bus, and one more died at the hospital.
The community is gathering for a blood bank to donate blood to the victims. The police say they are working hard to make sure the kids are successfully reunited with their families.
Traumatic brain injury is a big risk factor in a bus crash such as this. Whenever the skull strikes another object, there is a risk for a TBI, even when the wound is not penetrating. The sheer force of the accident could have had the soft matter of the brain collide with the hard surface of the skull, causing brain damage.
When the skull stops moving as it hits an object, the brain continues to move with same force until it is stopped by the skull. This kind of accident can cause bruising of the brain, referred to as a contusion or bleeding of the brain referred to as a hemorrhage.
When the head strikes an object, the brain may bounce back to the other side of the skull, causing another injury on the opposite side of the brain. This kind of injury is called a coup contrecoup injury.
There is an obvious defect on every single bus and in every single bus crash that is on the news. Most buses today do not have seat belts. Even when a bus does have a seat belt, passengers rarely use them. The American School Bus Council says that school buses don’t have seat belts because the children are protected like eggs in a carton, compartmentalized with strong, closely spaced seats that have energy-absorbing backs. On the other hand, the American Academy of Pediatrics advocates for having seat belts on large school buses.