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January 18, 2011  |   Comments (7)   |   Post a comment

Boy falls out of moving school bus


BATON ROUGE, La. — A 5-year-old boy suffered minor injuries after falling out of a moving school bus on Friday morning.

A preliminary investigation by the Baton Rouge Police Department found that the school bus driver, Cothern Williams, opened the bus doors for better visibility while stopped at railroad tracks. He then proceeded across the tracks and made a left turn onto a road, apparently forgetting to close the bus doors.

During the turn, the child somehow fell out of the bus and onto the road. The driver did not realize what happened and continued to drive for about a hundred yards until he was notified by other students of the incident, at which time he stopped and went back to check on the boy. By that time, an off-duty Baton Rouge firefighter who had been behind the bus had already stopped to render aid.

The child was transported by emergency medical services personnel to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries. No citations have been issued, and the investigation is ongoing.

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Obviously the driver was looking to to left for the turn and the child could have fallen out of the seat and down the stairwell during the turn. The momentum would have been there for the student to fall in that direction with the movement of the bus. Especially small children sit in seats with their feet dangling ... no support during turns, bumps, etc. Buses are bumpy rides even on smooth roads. However, the door being open and the driver going the length of a football field and then only realized the situation after the other students let him know is inexcusable. The driver will have to live with this forever, but I would not feel confident to allow another incident. This could be just the tip of the iceberg for the safety attitude of the driver.

Ricki Shaver    |    Jan 21, 2011 07:14 AM

I would also like to know how the child fell out. I mean really? Did you not know the kid was RIGHT THERE BESIDE THE DOOR????? I am also like the rest of the people posting on this, Why was the child there in the first place? We do not have seat belt requirements here in Georgia at the moment by the way, but still, I do know when a child is standing up front and relay this time and time again to my students that if it is NOT an emergency, DO NOT come to the front!!!!!!! Now, when I come to a track and a child is at the front, I tell them to go sit down.

Rebecca    |    Jan 20, 2011 08:25 AM

OK,,, I am SORRY, but how do you forget to close the doors? AND how in the world can you not know a child fell out of the bus?? I turn on my hazzard lights before I get to the tracks, stop, open door, look twice, close door, cross tracks, then turn off hazzard lights. This is MY opinion.... driver should be disciplined. I can assure you that if it happened to me, I would have been.

Rebecca    |    Jan 20, 2011 08:19 AM

In California the driver must open the door at the crossing BUT, the door must be closed before the bus is moved over the crossing. This is enforced to the drivers by the CHP when they take their writtin and driving test. I agree, why was the child standing up near rhe door?

John    |    Jan 20, 2011 07:45 AM

Is this a common practice in Baton Rouge to go cross the railroad tracks with the door open? What happened to the seat belt. I don't understand how the driver didn't see the child fall off the bus.

Nancy    |    Jan 19, 2011 06:23 AM

I agree with Ed. How this driver did not see something. And to go that far with your door open. I have seen drivers here in Newark in the summer time with there bus door open. So I guess it could happen but not even notice it is baffling. I know it is against the law to drive with the door open but drivers do it all the time. I guess till they get caught.

Debbie Wright    |    Jan 19, 2011 05:08 AM

I am an experienced SB driver. Two things I don't understand about this: (1) where was the student? If seated, I don't see how he/she could be in a position to fall out of the passenger door. (2) the driver is usually right across from the door; I don't see how someone could fall through the door without being seen by the driver (Obviously the driver should have closed the door before moving the bus -- I would expect that is SOP in any District).

Ed Hortsch    |    Jan 18, 2011 09:38 PM

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