Buckingham County, Virginia
Below are new details from our original story from earlier Thursday.
Verbatim release via Virginia State Police:
“At 7:42 a.m., Thursday (March 30), Virginia State Police Trooper C.S. Thackston responded to a fatal crash in Buckingham County. The crash occurred on Route 15 near Baptist Union Road/Route 692, just north of the community of Dillwyn.
This section added by VSP at 4:50 PM 3.30.17
After viewing the video obtained from the school bus…it has been confirmed that the school bus made a right turn from Route 692/Baptist Union Road onto Route 15 to head south and proceed approximately 200 yards to its next stop. As the bus approached the children who were standing off the north side of Route 15, two of the six children ran across the northbound travel lane towards the bus. The bus had only its yellow flashing lights activated.
A tractor-trailer was traveling north on Route 15 as a Buckingham County school bus was approaching in the opposite lane. The school bus was traveling south on Route 15 and began slowing to pick up six children standing off the north side of Route 15. As the bus was slowing to a stop, two of the six children ran across the northbound travel lane towards the bus. The bus had only its yellow flashing lights activated.
The tractor-trailer driver immediately began braking in an attempt to stop for the two children. But, the tractor-trailer was traveling downhill and was fully-loaded with 75,000 lbs of mulch.
The bus driver told State Police that when she realized the tractor-trailer was not going to be able to stop in time, she frantically began motioning to the children to stop and get back off the side of the road.
The children, Tori Perez, 5, and Jaiden Bartee, 6, were struck by the tractor-trailer and both died at the scene.
There were no other injuries in the incident. The four other children at the bus stop stayed on the side of the road and none of them was injured.
The Virginia State Police Appomattox Division’s Accident Reconstruction Team responded to the scene to assist with the crash investigation.
This section added / updated by VSP at 4:50 PM 3.30.17
The Virginia State Police Motor Carrier Safety Team responded to the scene to examine the tractor-trailer. Further investigation by the troopers resulted in the tractor-trailer being placed out of service due to several equipment violations. However, none of the violations would have had an impact on the vehicle’s ability to stop or avoid the crash. The 66-year-old male driver from Dillwyn, Va., has a valid commercial driver’s license.
Based on the witness accounts and the crash investigation, no charges will be placed.
Route 15 was reopened to through traffic at 12:00 p.m. Thursday.
Corinne N. Geller
Public Relations Director
Virginia State Police”