SALYERSVILLE – Monday morning calls came in shortly before school was set to begin, with students calling 911 to report that they had been in a bus wreck.
On Monday, November 14, just after 7:20 a.m., first responders were called to a bus wreck on KY Rt. 40 near the Tackett Bottom. According to initial reports, the bus was traveling toward Salyersville when it dropped off the pavement and into the ditch, then reentered the roadway. The driver appeared to have overcorrected, crossed both lanes and over the embankment, striking and cutting a utility pole in half. The bus landed on its passenger side facing Johnson County.
Rescue crews report the female driver was ejected and partially pinned under the bus. In addition to the driver, a total of 18 students were on board the bus when it wrecked, ranging from elementary, middle and high school, with all transported to hospitals. Two helicopters were called in to airlift at least two of the patients, with ambulances from every surrounding county responded to transport students to different hospitals.
By Friday morning, 12 of the students had been treated and released from the hospital, with six students and the driver remaining hospitalized.
In Wednesday’s update, Superintendent Chris Meadows said, “We’re doing our best to update people as much as we can and give as much information as we can from the board of education, but really didn’t have a great deal of information to update today. We haven’t seen a change in the number of individuals still hospitalized. We are still continuing to offer support to our families, and we are overwhelmed by the number of calls and the amount of support that we have been shown for these families over the past couple of days. It’s been amazing the number of people who have reached out to simply ask what they could do to help.
The Independent reached out to all the families of the seven still hospitalized, with all but one (the driver) agreeing to release updates, names and photos of their students’ status, all asking for prayers. As of Friday, this is what we know:
Four students from Magoffin County High School remain in the hospital:
– Madison Isaac, a senior, is still at UK and has five fractured vertebrae, a few broken ribs, a collapsed lung, laceration to her kidney and liver and a head laceration, though none of the injuries are considered life threatening.
– Kelly Adams, a senior, is still at UK. At first reports he had severe back vertebrae fractures, but the surgery went well and the doctors are still hopeful he can regain movement/feeling since he is still so young. He has been able to move his foot and use one of his arms/hands.
– Anna Williams, a junior, is also still at UK. She had brain swelling and bleeding, but the bleeding stopped. Doctors told her family the swelling will be worse on days 3 and 4, but they did not think they would need to do surgery for it. Her vertebrae fractures are not bad, but her skull is fractured all the way across her head. The medical team was able to get her off the ventilator on Wednesday.
– Keith Caudill, a senior, is at Pikeville Medical Center, had to have surgery on a severely broken leg. His family has been told he won’t need surgery on his back, but he is being fitted for a back brace and has a long road ahead of him.
One of the students still hospitalized is a seventh-grader from Herald Whitaker Middle School, Caelan Jordan, who is still at UK. His mother said his status is still changing frequently, but he is being monitored closely for spinal fluid leakage from his ear. He had several severe injuries, but she reported he did walk a short distance on Wednesday, asking for continued prayers.
Salyersville Grade School student Jase Hamilton, who is still at UK, suffered a crushed hand and severed thumb. Surgery was not able to save his thumb, and he’s had three surgeries so far to repair his hand. He’s been able to get up and move around some, but he’s still experiencing a lot of pain. His mom reported that the biggest fight now is infection.
The driver’s family did not respond by press time, but the Independent extends our thoughts and prayers for all those affected by this tragedy, and we will continue to report updates as the information is released.
At press time, the wreck is still under investigation by the Kentucky State Police.