Special Needs Transportation

Special-needs student survives fall from bus on freeway

Posted on July 8, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY — Granite School District officials said that a special-needs student was in "miraculous condition" despite his fall from a school bus onto an interstate highway last month.

District spokesman Ben Horsley told The Salt Lake Tribune that the boy was reported to have no broken bones, but had several lacerations after falling out of the bus' rear emergency exit.

The boy was being transported home following the first day of a four-week summer program at a school for medically fragile and severely disabled students when the accident occurred. The sound of the freeway and noise from the windows may have prevented the driver from hearing the alarm that sounded when the back door was opened, according to Horsley.

The attendant on the bus heard the alarm and looked at the door, but it appeared that the door was closed. Reports from a district investigation said a turn on the freeway may have swung the door into a position where it appeared to be closed.

When the attendant walked back to check on the student, she could see that the door was slightly open and the student was not on the bus. 

The bus driver pulled over to the side of the road around a mile to a mile and a half from where the student had fallen and contacted district and emergency officials. Horsley told The Salt Lake Tribune that between 60 to 90 seconds passed from the time the student fell to the time the bus pulled over.

Horsley added that it was not known if the boy had opened the back door himself.

In accordance with district policy, the driver and bus attendant were put on leave pending the completion of the investigation, and the driver was tested for drugs.

Comments ( 9 )
  • Linda

     | about 5 years ago

    You are right of course Tammy, but ultimately the driver is responsible whether there are extenuating circumstances or not. The driver's view may have been blocked, the attendant may have been busy with other students, however, the way the public looks at our responsiblity and how we exercise best practices is the true test here. Sensationalized certainly, not have all the facts of course, in the end, however it will come down to whether the bus driver really had done everything in their power to protect the students. If the child was a known risk for flight why was he allowed so close to the emergency door? If this was an aberration of behavior on the students' part no one could be held responsible, yet someone will in the end be held responsible. Good points all, I agree with Tammy we do need all the facts as well, but we all jump because we can see ourselves in this prediciment and hope we would act differently and have a better outcome.

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