EL DORADO, Ark. (10/1/19) — The driver of a truck involved in an accident with an El Dorado public school bus Friday afternoon has been identified as Aaron Shirley, 21, of El Dorado.
According to Arkansas State Police was the crash was initially reported on U.S. Highway 63 of El Dorado around 3:46 p.m.
Shirley slammed into the rear-end of the bus while it was stopped dropping off a child.
There were 18 students on the bus at the time, 13 people were taken to the hospital by ambulance but were released the same day.
“It was a bad incident,” Superintendent Jim Tucker said. “It was something that I definitely hope never happens again.”
Shirley is being charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, no seat belt, no insurance, fictitious tags and reckless driving.
District Transportation Director, John Thompson, says this should be a reminder for drivers to pay attention while driving.
“Pay extra close attention when there’s a bus around and that doesn’t matter if it’s on the highway, in town or at a school,” Thompson said.
Since Thompson has been working with the district, he said it’s his first time seeing a collision on a bus route. He has witnessed drivers pass buses while its flashing red lights are on, indicating that a stop is about to take place.
“It’s a shame, you know, when you have all of these safety precautions on a school bus and safety features on the bus and it gets ignored or it’s not seen.”
Shirley is still recovering from his injuries in the crash. While the district is thankful there were no serious injuries to the bus driver and the students, they are offering condolences to Shirley and his family.
“Our prayers definitely go out to the young man that was driving the truck,” Tucker said. “We hope that he recovers well.”
School officials thanked the first responders that arrived on scene. They also urge drivers to drive with caution when on the roads, especially while school buses are present.