Flooding Raises Concerns About School Bus Safety

Wednesday, April 2nd 2008, 9:56 pm
By: News On 6

As Green Country braces for more flooding, one town is still dealing with the aftermath of Monday's storm.  Floodwaters swept away a two-year-old in Peggs in Cherokee County.  The News On 6's Chris Wright reports some people claim the flooding also put two busloads of children in danger.

Two-year-old Mackenzie Beck drowned Monday after her mother tried to cross a flooded creek.  Some in Peggs say that only a few hours earlier, a second tragedy was narrowly avoided.

"Scared to death, scared to death, somebody's other kids were on there," said Donna Holderbee of Peggs.

Some pictures were taken during the height of Monday's flash flooding in Cherokee County.  They show not one, but two Peggs school buses, filled with at least two dozen kids, driving through several feet of high water.

Donna Holderbee, whose three grandchildren were just dropped off by the buses, took the pictures.  She says water was moving quickly across the flooded out rural road, and the buses even began swaying back and forth.

"That's scary. We were just setting up here on pins and needles hoping we didn't see her topping over in something," said Donna Holderbee.

Buses are used to driving through low water in the area.  There are a number of low water bridges, but on Monday, the water came up entirely too quickly.

"This was just a situation where it came awfully fast.  We're just fortunate that we were able to get the kids back here and take care of them," said Peggs Superintendent Dr. John Cox.

Peggs Superintendent John Cox says when he realized just how bad the flooding was, he did call the buses back to the school.  And, in the event of more flooding, drivers have strict instructions to avoid any more risks.

"Basically if we can't see the bottom of the road, we're not going into that water," said Peggs Superintendent Dr. John Cox.

That, says Donna, is what she hoped to accomplish by taking the pictures.

"It's not their fault that it rained that hard, but we don't want this to ever happen again," said Donna Holderbee.

One of the buses did stop, and was towed out of the high water.  Donna says the bus drivers are not at fault.  Instead, she blames the county for, in her opinion, not keeping the road in good shape.

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