Walker County Schools Superintendent thankful for school bus evacuation training

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 10:47 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2023 at 9:54 AM CST
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WALKER COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Walker County School leaders say all their students were able to safely escape a school bus that crashed and caught fire on Tuesday, all thanks to their evacuation training.

Superintendent Dr. Dennis Willingham says it was a scary situation that turned out just fine because of these drills. He called the situation a blessing.

Students from Carbon Hill Elementary School and Carbon Hill High School were on the bus when it crashed yesterday on Highway 102. The school bus caught fire, but thankfully everyone got out unharmed.

Dr. Willingham says they do evacuation drills at least twice a year, as mandated by the state Department of Education. This is where the students learned how to evacuate out the back of the bus.

“They talk about the proper exits, the proper ways to exit, and they especially instruct the older students to help the younger students and this was the case yesterday,” he said. “We actually had our older students who calmly helped our younger students off the bus and into a safe place.”

Dr. Willingham said the students were able to wait at a nearby church while their parents came to pick them up.

While they hope nothing like this happens again, he’s proud to know his students and bus drivers are prepared, just in case.

The driver of the passenger vehicle was also not injured in the crash, according to Corporal Reginal King, spokesperson for the ALEA’s State Troopers.

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