Update November 22nd, 2016: Police Chief Fred Fletcher has confirmed that 5 children were killed in the bus crash yesterday afternoon. The 24-year-old bus driver has been arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter. Investigators believe that the crash occurred due to high speeds.
This afternoon, a school bus carrying 35 Woodmore Elementary School students—aged from kindergarten to 5th grade—violently crashed into a tree in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The force of the impact was enough to split the width of the bus in half. The bus itself was also turned over on its side, with the tree crushed against its roof.
Very few details about the crash have been released by the police, as it occurred only a few hours ago. Police Chief Fred Fletcher and Assistant Chief Tracy Arnold have confirmed that multiple fatalities occurred but gave no word on the number of fatalities or the extent of the survivors’ injuries. The police have not confirmed if the number of those killed includes children or if there were pedestrians involved in the accident.
What we do know is that it was a single-vehicle crash. Of the 35 children onboard and the bus driver, 23 were sent to local hospitals for their injuries. In addition, it is being reported that the bus driver is alive and cooperating with investigators. Hopefully, this tragedy will soon have a concrete explanation.
Governor Bill Haslam has issued a statement from Nashville offering his assistance.