Woman killed by Hamblen County school bus

Woman killed by Hamblen County school bus at scene of rear-end accident

Posted: Updated:
The accident was on Meadowview Lane near Chestnut Drive. The accident was on Meadowview Lane near Chestnut Drive.
Sandra Akers was taking her granddaughters to Meadowview Middle School when the accident happened. Sandra Akers was taking her granddaughters to Meadowview Middle School when the accident happened.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

MORRISTOWN (WATE) - A woman was killed Monday morning when a Hamblen County school bus struck her car just after it was rear-ended.

Police say a car driven by Ritchie Coffey, 19, rear ended one belonging to Sandra Akers, 63, of Morristown, at 7:49 a.m. It happened on Meadowview Lane near Chestnut Drive, which is near Meadowview Middle School.

"We believe Ms. Akers stepped out of the vehicle to inspect the damage to her car and to speak to the other driver, but before she could do that the school bus struck both cars," said Maj. Michelle Jones, with the Morristown Police Department explained.

Police say the drivers and their cars weren't pulled over to the shoulder. They were in the road when they were struck.

Akers was taking her two granddaughters, ages eight and 11, to the middle school.

Coffey was taking an 11 year old to the school.

The school bus had 18 children on board as well. "We believe they saw all or some of the accident," Jones said.

No one else in the cars or the bus was injured, but all the students were taken to the middle school to speak with counselors.

"We have adults in place to help them so they can talk through their feelings and to share those thoughts and feelings with adults. Our counselors are great about that and also with dealing with families," said Hamblen County Schools Superintendent Dr. Dale Lynch.

Administrators said they have contacted all the parents of the children on the bus. They will also send a letter to all the students' homes. Lynch said there will be counselors on hand for as long as students need them.

For a parent who works at a hair salon near the intersection of Chestnut and Meadowview, it was a scary ordeal.

"It's awful. And I have a child that I had just taken to school and all I could think about was what if my child had been on that bus, scared to death or hurt," Jennifer Burzell said.

Police say no charges have been filed, but the investigation is ongoing.

The school bus driver was ordered to have mandatory alcohol and drug testing. It's required by state law.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol also helped with the investigation by inspecting the bus on Monday. Officials said no mechanical issues were found. 

School officials said they will look at the safety of the bus route after police conclude their investigation.

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