According to Tyler County resident Nadine Greathouse, the school bus stop on state Route 180 near Tenmile Road has been the object of numerous close calls for traffic accidents over the last two years. Her fears became reality last week.
Greathouse said a near tragedy occurred on Thursday at around 3 p.m. when a copper-colored Chevy Cobalt went out of control and slammed into the bus stop shanty, totally destroying it. She said the driver had extensive damage to his vehicle, which he moved to the opposite side of the road. Greathouse noted several people have been ticketed in the past, yet it seems as through they are still speeding in this area. "If it would have happened 15 or 20 minutes later, there is no doubt children would have been injured," she said.
The accident was investigated by Deputy Bryan Owens of the Tyler County Sheriff's Office who issued citations to the driver, Gavin Morris, 21, of 237 Monroe Ave., New Martinsville. He was cited for for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and driving a motor vehicle without insurance.
This school bus stop on state Route 180 near Tenmile Road was hit by a vehicle last week just a short while before students got off the school bus here.
The sheriff's department said they monitor school bus stops closely and want to warn motorists to take extra precaution in school zone and bus stop areas.
Superintendent of Tyler County Schools Robin Daquilante said in a telephone conversation she was aware of the incident and has met with Transportation Director Troy Smith. They have come up with a plan for dropping the kids off in the afternoon which they believe will be safer. She said the bus will now continue on to the Buck Run stop, turn, and come back, dropping the kids off at the Tenmile stop. This will allow the kids to get off the bus without having to cross the road in the turn. She also said the county will rebuild the destroyed bus stop shanty. She noted there is heavy truck traffic in the area during the morning and afternoon. She said Transportation Director Smith is working closely with them in an effort to avoid accidents.
Greathouse said the bus stop is used by at least six children daily and sometimes even more. Saying she has made several calls in the last two years to Tyler Dispatch, State Road officials, and the Tyler County Board of Education, Greathouse said all have been very cooperative and the State Road has even come out and trimmed trees that were blocking drivers' views.
Greathouse stressed she is not blaming any of the officials because they all have tried to help. She understands the sheriff's office is short handed and can't be there all the time, but still feels something needs to be done. She said the bus stop is located alongside state Route 18, in a sharp bend in the road, and traffic seems to go pretty fast there.