New Developments in Deadly Lincoln County Bus Crash
William “Otis” Coleman was driving that truck, he later died. His family is filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Recently released court documents are raising questions about the bus driver and the safety of that school bus.
ABC 36 has still not be able to get copies of the bus driver’s personal file or her driving record but documents released in court show it was not as clean as ABC 36 was originally told.
Just after the wreck, ABC 36 was told the bus driver, Judy Asberry, had no complaints about her driving.
Now it appears there was a 911 call from back in 2003 that said Asberry was driving too fast, reckless and that she ran another vehicle off the road.
According to a driver review just after that complain, Asberry admitted to the speeding because she was going to be late for work.
The review said, Asberry said she was sorry and made a commitment to being a safer driver.
Two more complaints were filed just after the May 7th crash. One of them said Asberry’s bus ran off the road three weeks before the deadly wreck.
Lincoln County Schools Superintendent said she cannot comment.
Following the wreck, Asberry was on administrative leave. The superintendent said she is now a temporary school cook. She said there are many reasons for the switch but because it’s a personnel issue, she can’t comment any further.
48 kids were on the bus headed to Lincoln Middle School when the bus crashed. 28 of the students and the bus driver were taken to local hospitals for minor injuries.
The Coleman family attorney said the bus had too many maintenance problems and should have never been on the road in the first place.
A state audit that was done on the Lincoln County Transportation Department, just a few weeks before the accident called it ‘inefficient.’
The audit said the buses were old, which the school system admitted but the superintendent said the issues highlighted in the inspection had nothing to do with the wreck.
The family attorney disagrees.
Schools officials said the bus in the wreck was 20-years-old and according to records; it had more than 238,000 miles on it.
The school system said buses are checked daily by the bus drivers and monthly for preventative maintenance.
Records show the last maintenance check was April 3rd, a little less than a month before the accident and that the brakes were adjusted on the bus that March.
A state exam on the bus after the wreck shows the brakes are out of service.
Troopers said they can’t tell if the brakes were broken before the accident or if the brakes are defective because of the wreck.
They admit they aren’t mechanics; they’re only trained to look for the obvious during these exams.
State police said it’s wrapping up the investigation but don’t anticipate any charges to be filed in the deadly accident.
The family attorney wants to be able to look at the bus himself. He’s going to court September 12th to fight for that right.
The Superintendent of Lincoln County said she cannot comment.