WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. — Whitley County Schools has released more information on the accident in which a 10-year-old boy was hit and killed by his school bus on Monday afternoon.
Witnesses at the scene said Jonathan A. Chatham, a fourth-grade student at Whitley North Elementary School, exited the bus, walked up the bank on the side of the road and then re-entered the path of the bus as it began moving forward, according to a press release from the district published by LEX18.
The bus driver immediately requested emergency personnel at the scene, the press release stated. Within minutes the superintendent, deputy superintendent, director of pupil personnel, the Whitley North Elementary School principal and grief counselors from the school system were on the scene. The parents of students remaining on the bus were notified by district personnel, and students whose parents were unable to pick them up were taken home.
The school district and local and state law enforcement are investigating the incident and an accident reconstruction team has been called to assist, according to the press release.
Whitley County School System's transportation department said in a statement that Amanda Woliver, the bus driver who was involved in the accident, has worked for the school district for three years and has driven an average of over 120 miles per day incident free. The transportation department conducted an investigation of the bus, driver records, maintenance records and bus inspection sheets and found everything to be in order, according to the statement.
“Her CDL, training and physicals are all up to date,” Bobby Blakley, transportation director for Whitley County Schools, said in the statement. “Amanda has always been a good employee.”
Woliver was placed on paid suspension while the investigation is conducted.
Schools were in session on Wednesday, and a grief counselor rode with the students on the bus route on which the accident occurred, according to LEX18. Grief counselors will be available at Whitley North Elementary for as long as the students need their services, the news source reports.
In the comments section of the LEX18 news story, Barbara McMahan, who said that she is Chatham’s grandmother, added that the boy’s father, who was standing within 20 feet of the accident, saw the bus pull away with the doors closed before the boy fully cleared the bus.
“Jonathan had been continually lectured on safety regarding traffic,” McMahan commented. “He was an extremely intelligent child. No way I’m believing he threw himself under the bus. Our family is dealing with this tragedy as best we can. But I want the bottom line truth to be reported.”