Buses rolled Friday in honor of Aleita Gladson, a 55-year-old school bus driver for Hawkins County Schools in Tennessee.  -  Source: Canva/Kristen Rollins (Greenville City Schools)

Buses rolled Friday in honor of Aleita Gladson, a 55-year-old school bus driver for Hawkins County Schools in Tennessee.

Source: Canva/Kristen Rollins (Greenville City Schools)

A pickup truck crossed from the southbound lane of a Tennessee state road on Monday morning and crashed into a northbound school bus – No. 109 from Hawkins County Schools - driven by Aleita Gladson.

Gladson, 55, died in the accident. Two students aboard the bus were okay, despite minor injuries. The 18-year-old who drove the truck survived and could face charges after the investigation by the Tennessee Highway Patrol is complete.

On Friday, more than 100 school buses from Hawkins County Schools, Kingsport City Schools, and other districts came together to form a memorial procession.

Said Matt Hixson, director of schools for Hawkins County: “I am heartbroken to report Aleita Gladson has passed away. Aleita was a longtime and valued Hawkins County Schools team member, as a bus driver, as a secretary, and as assistant director within our transportation department. Our prayers go out to her family, and we would ask that all those within our Hawkins County community keep Aleita’s family in your prayers as well. We pray too for the other driver involved in this accident.”

Alex Spann, director and secretary for Region 2 in the National Association for Pupil Transportation, is based in Tennessee. He too lamented her passing.

“The loss of Aleita Gladson in this tragic accident hits close to home for anyone in the school bus industry, but especially for those in Tennessee,” Spann said. “Her 30-plus years of dedication to the Hawkins County School System is immeasurable and absolutely irreplaceable. The outpouring of support from districts across the state leading up to and throughout the memorial procession shows just how appreciated her work was and what an impact she had on her students, co-workers, and community.”

About the author
Wes Platt

Wes Platt

Executive Editor

Wes Platt joined Bobit in 2021 as executive editor of School Bus Fleet Magazine. He writes and edits content about student transportation, school bus manufacturers and equipment, legislative issues, maintenance, fleet contracting, and school transportation technology - from classic yellow diesel buses to the latest EPA-funded electric, propane, and CNG vehicles.

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