NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The driver of a Norfolk school bus that overturned Tuesday morning just off of Interstate 64 is facing charges.
71-year-old Callie Goodwyn was charged with reckless driving and failure to maintain control of vehicle.
No one was seriously hurt in the accident.
Bus number 269 was heading from Granby High School to Norfolk Technical Center around 7:30 a.m. when it flipped over, according to Karen Tanner with Norfolk Public Schools. Police spokesman Daniel Hudson says the bus was going east on Thole Street, went through the intersection at Tidewater Drive, and hit the jersey wall going on to I-64. This caused the bus to flip on to its side. Police said Goodwyn was blinded by the sunlight before she hit the wall.
It’s not clear if speed is being considered a factor in the crash.
It appears that between 20 and 30 people, including students and the driver, were on board the bus, according to police and school officials. Several students, as well as the bus driver, were taken to two area hospitals from the accident.
Three students who were on the bus went to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for treatment and nine students and the bus driver went to Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center. All were released by Tuesday evening, including 11th grade student Danielle Lamb and her twin brother, Daniel.
“My two friends were sitting on the side that hit the ground and I fell on them, and my best friend fell on me… All I heard was screaming and crying and stuff,” Danielle said.
In the chaos, she remembered to go through the back door of the bus to safety, where she called her mother.
“It felt like slow motion to me, like everything was in slow motion… I’m just thankful that I’m still alive,” said Daniel, who was sitting on the opposite side of the bus from his sister.
The twins’ mother, Cheryl Taylor-Lamb, didn’t realize her children were on the same bus until she got to the scene.
“I don’t know what happened, how it happened, I’m not sure. You hear different stories, but I’m just thankful, that’s all. I’m thankful that they’re okay,” she said.
The twins were not seriously hurt, but went to the hospital to get checked. Their classmate Semaj Hubbard did too. She said she had a few bruises from the crash.
“I was just telling everybody, ‘Get out, get out, get out!’ because we don’t know if the bus was going to blow up or anything like that,” she said.
“It felt good that she was okay, but you know, I’m still a little angry because something does need to be done,” said her mother, Norketa Hubbard.
Norfolk police spokesperson JoAnn Hughes said in a Facebook live video Tuesday that all of the injuries in the crash were minor.
A few parents went to the scene Tuesday to pick up their children, and some took them to the hospital. Other students were checked out at the scene by EMS.
Tosha Smith went to the scene to pick up her son.
“All I know, he called and said he got in an accident,” she said. “He is all right, but I am still taking him to the emergency room.”
Brian Roper was one of 22 on the bus.
“We were coming down this street, going across the intersection, and then we went directly over the median,” Roper said.
Superintendent of Norfolk schools Dr. Melinda Boone released a statement Tuesday evening, which reads:
Safety is always at the forefront of our planning and thinking, including safe transport via our school buses. We take our ongoing training and safety recognition very seriously and continue to adjust and improve driving practices following all accidents. Many of our accidents are fender benders, with no injuries, that occur on very narrow streets in parts of the city where buses and other vehicles struggle to share space. We certainly have a district goal to reduce the number of bus crashes that are caused by NPS. We deploy 238 buses daily, transporting over 12,066 students daily, and covering over 3 million miles a year.
Following each accident, a driver goes before a review board and they review the circumstances of the accident to identify preventable measures to preclude future occurrences. A recommendation is given according to the improvement the driver needs in that area of training.
We are grateful that the injuries in today’s accident were not life threatening and we are hopeful for a quick recovery for the driver and all students involved.”
Only Chopper 10 was above the scene Tuesday as crews worked to remove the overturned bus.
There were major delays in the area Tuesday morning as a result of the accident. Motorists were being cautioned to avoid the area, as the intersection of Tidewater and Thole was closed. The intersection was reopened just before 9 a.m.