Six students hurt as Houston County school bus overturns
A 6-year-old girl died early Tuesday from injuries that occured when her school bus overturned Monday afternoon.
Arlana Haynes, a Parkwood Elementary first-grader, was pronounced dead at 1:09 a.m. at Medical Center, Navicent Health, in Macon, Houston County Coroner Danny Galpin said.
Arlana was seriously hurt in the crash on Forest Park Drive near North Pleasant Hill in Warner Robins at about 4:15 p.m. Monday.
The bus was taking more than 35 students home from Parkwood and Pearl Stephens elementary schools when it crashed while traveling downhill and attempting to make a 90-degree left turn, Warner Robins police Assistant Chief John Wagner said Tuesday.
The driver was identified as Shalita Harris, who's been employed by the school district since Oct. 30, 2017.
In addition to the driver and students, a bus monitor was on board, Wagner said.
The driver "wasn't able to negotiate the turn, the bus turned on its side and slid in the grass," Wagner said.
The bus slid for about 15 to 20 feet, he said.
The posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour on that stretch of roadway, Wagner said.
The state Motor Carrier Compliance Division is assisting Warner Robins police traffic investigators with the crash investigation to determine what caused it, including whether speed was a factor or whether there was a mechanical failure or other explanation.
Five others, including the driver, were treated for minor injuries at Houston Medical Center. Those not hurt were reunited with their parents at Westside Elementary School, Wagner said.
Wagner praised students and parents for remaining calm.
"There could have been hysteria," Wagner said. "They made a terrible situation bearable."
Kids on the bus ranged from ages 6-11.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with this family during this sad and difficult time," school Superintendent Mark Scott said in a statement. "We also offer condolences to our Parkwood students and staff members, especially the child’s classmates and teachers."
The school district’s crisis team and school counselors were on hand Tuesday to talk with students. School psychologists and counselors were also available.
Telegraph writer Laura Corley contributed to this report