MOBILE, Ala. — A beloved school bus driver here passed away on Thursday after her school bus overturned following a crash with two other vehicles, police said.
The bus driver, identified by Alabama Law Enforcement Agency as 32-year-old Kimberleigh Welch, was traveling along Interstate 65 at around 7:30 a.m. when a vehicle, driven by 22-year-old Brandon Barner, struck the bus, according to a news release from the agency. Another vehicle, driven by 22-year-old Brunti Givens, was also involved in the crash. Welch, who was the only one aboard the bus at the time, was transported to the hospital where she succumbed to the injuries she sustained in the crash. Neither Barner nor Givens were injured, officials said.
Barner was charged with homicide by vehicle and has been booked into Mobile County Metro Jail, WKRG reports.
On Thursday afternoon, Mobile County Public Schools posted a statement on its Facebook page mourning the loss of Welch, who had been a driver for the district since February 2018. The district said in the post that prior to the crash, Welch dropped off students at Pathway Alternative School.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our Mobile County Public Schools’ family members, Mrs. Kimberleigh Welch,” said Chresal Threadgill, the superintendent for the district. “Mrs. Welch was a very well-liked, caring, and dedicated bus driver and volunteer for our district.”
Pat Mitchell, the district’s transportation director, added that the district lost one of its “heroes,” and that “the kids and the staff at her school loved her and thought the world of her.”
The district said counselors will be available to meet with students and staff during this time.
View the full statement from Mobile County Public Schools, posted on the district’s Facebook page, below.