EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Georgia State Patrol has released its official report for the Yukon Road bus incident last Monday, Jan. 22.
According to the report, officials say the bus driver, 71-year-old Harold Moody, says he drifted onto the shoulder as he was reaching for his microphone and looking into his mirror at the students on his bus.
The report states Moody was “distracted” while he was driving by using the microphone and causing him to drift off the east side of Yukon Road before striking a culvert and veering back across both lanes before overturning and coming to rest blocking the road. Moody was not injured in the accident.
Vehicle 1 was traveling north attempting to negotiate a curve on Yukon Road. Vehicle 1 drifted and traveled off the east side of Yukon Road causing the driver to lose control.
Vehicle 1 traveled north on the east shoulder into a ditch. The undercarriage of vehicle 1 struck the ditch culvert. Vehicle 1 veered left and travel west across both lanes of the
roadway. Vehicle 1 overturned and came to an uncontrolled rest facing west on its right side across both lanes of Yukon Road.
Driver 1 stated that he reached up to grab the microphone and looked at the rearview mirror to address the student passengers. He stated that the student passengers were being loud and using profanity. Driver 1 became distracted by using the microphone and looking at the rearview mirror while attempting to negotiate a downhill curve.
School officials have already confirmed the use of a substitute driver after having placed Moody on administrative leave. Read more about the accident with “Bus wreck on Yukon injures students,” “Responding to Gilmer’s bus wreck on Yukon Road,” and “Ralston speaks on Yukon bus crash.”
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ELLIJAY, Ga. – While local citizens continue discussion of Monday’s incident involving a bus overturning on Yukon Road, the discussion has spread to the state capital as Georgia Speaker of the House of Representatives David Ralston released an official comment today.
“I’m so thankful no one was hurt in this week’s school bus accident. While the road the accident occurred on is maintained by the county government, I’m willing to discuss state involvement in addressing any safety concerns with the road if the county feels that state involvement would be helpful. I’m just glad that there was an emergency medical facility in the county which could treat the children who were injured. The last time a serious bus accident occurred in Gilmer County, that wasn’t the case.”
As some have addressed concerns over the area of Yukon road where the accident occured, FetchYourNews has learned that county officials have been looking into the road this week since the wreck. While no official statement on their progress is available at this time, this comment from Ralston could open discussion for possibilities in the future.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – With more questions than answers, the current investigation into the bus wreck on Yukon Road cannot complete fast enough.
Citizens are continuing to debate the incident with the information available. FetchYourNews (FYN) sat down to discuss the situation further with Gilmer County Charter School System Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes. Though she reiterated that details such as the name of the bus driver and the specifics of the State Patrol were unavailable, she did update that the Georgia Department of Transportation’s (GDOT) required investigation of the bus proved the bus sound and complete excluding the damage caused by the wreck.
This means that while some had questioned the bus’s condition at the time of the incident, a formal investigation has stated the bus itself was not at fault. Of course, with the damage to the vehicle, Wilkes tells FYN that the bus will obviously not be put back on the road. Instead, the system has put one of its back-up buses into use and is utilizing a substitute driver on the route. No other bus routes or drivers have been affected by the incident, and Wilkes confirmed that the school utilizes substitute drivers regularly in its operations.
Going deeper into the bus condition, Wilkes commented that the bus maintenance program follows stringent schedules regularly inspected by the GDOT, which also inspected the bus after the wreck. As the bus garage adheres to those schedules, they monitor each bus’s engines and details down to measuring the tread on tires.
The driver of the bus that wrecked has been with the school for over three years but has been placed on administrative leave for now. Wilkes said that such leave is common but would not comment on the driver’s permanent status with the school until the investigation completed.
Wilkes also took time with FYN to deny a rumor of a fight on the bus distracting the driver saying, “I can tell you that there was no fight on that bus at the time. That is one rumor I can completely squelch.”
Though not every question is seeing answers at this time, details continue to reveal as more unfolds.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – A Gilmer County Charter School System bus has crashed roughly three miles out of town on Yukon Road.
The road is currently shut down and drivers need to find alternative routes as they attempt to travel. The bus was not involved with another vehicle. According to Gilmer County Charter School System Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes, the bus overturned on the wet, rainy road resulting in minor injuries to children on board.
She did confirm the only students on board were from Clear Creek Middle School. With only minor, non-life-threatening, injuries, emergency services are transporting seven students to the emergency department in Ellijay and eight are being transported to the emergency room in Jasper. However, the other students on board were uninjured or only received scrapes or bruises and, having been checked by emergency response units, are being transported back to Clear Creek Middle School for parent pick-up.
According to the Gilmer County Charter School System, they are working to notify parents and are not releasing names of the students injured.
Witnesses on scene are reporting officers from Gilmer Fire, Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office, and the Georgia State Patrol are still working on the vehicle which is blocking both lanes of the road.
While emergency services are on scene, there is no set time expected for re-opening the road. Stay with FetchYourNews (FYN) as we continue to follow updates from authorities.
UPDATE: According to Dr. Shanna Wilkes, the accident coupled with response from parents to the schools delayed bus routes today, causing many students to arrive home far later than usual. With State Patrol undertaking a formal investigation into the incident, the use of this bus would demand a halt whether it is operational or not as authorities’ investigation will entail a full inspection in addition to questioning and investigating those involved.
While it is FYN’s understanding that the bus overturned after an over-correction by the driver, possibly trying to return to the road from the shoulder, it has not been confirmed by officials.
October 30, 2017 ~ Gilmer County Georgia
According to authorities a single vehicle accident occurred on October 30th, 2017 on River Street in Ellijay, GA. Sources tell FYN a female driver lost control of her vehicle on Monday, mid morning, and hit a curb. The driver may have been attempting to correct the vehicle and veered off the roadway causing the vehicle to crash through the fence at Southern Pipe & Supply located at 340 River Street. The vehicle narrowly missed the signage out front of the business.
According to sources at the scene, the driver of the vehicle may not have been wearing her seat belt and after being helped from the car was taken by ambulance for medical attention to assess her injuries. Ellijay Police and Georgia State Patrol responded to the accident. The accident is under investigation at this time.
After combing through the Lawsuit filed by Terry Cantrell, FYN takes a closer look at the Police Report and Dash Cam Footage of the involved incident.
The Incident Report filed with the Police states that Officer Brady Dover was patrolling down River Street when he noticed a dark in color pickup truck fail to maintain its lane by crossing over the fog line and partially into a parking lot. As he followed the vehicle, he initiated a traffic stop, activating his blue lights.
According to the report, after the driver failed to stop, he followed him onto North Avenue in Downtown Ellijay, and then onto McCutchen Street in front of the Ellijay Elementary School and Ellijay Primary School. At this point the driver dramatically increased his speed to a point where Officer Dover had to increase to 55 mph to avoid losing the suspect.
One can see in the dash-cam footage, as the suspect came off the bridge on McCutchen Street, the suspect nearly ran head-on into another vehicle exiting Harrison Park before traveling through the field and crashing into a small creek on the east side of the park.
An Accident Report also indicates he struck two wooden posts that blocked vehicles from entering the field.
The incident report states the suspect exited his vehicle on foot, at which point Officer Dover pursued the suspect, yelling at him to stop.
Pursuing the suspect through the wooded area, a field, and back onto McCutchen Street, Officer Dover once pulled his firearm after noticing “a large knife on his side.” Yelling at him again to stop, the suspect continued fleeing. Continuing his pursuit, the report states Officer Dover heard a second officer, Sergeant Brian Troglin, “give a loud verbal command.”
Sgt. Troglin’s report states that he noticed “a knife approximately 6″ in length on his right hip in a case,” emerged from his vehicle, and yelled, “hold up” at the suspect.
The report also states Sgt. Troglin saw Officer Trevor McClure tackle the suspect with a shoulder tackle.
Officer McClure’s report stated:
AS I QUICKLY CLOSED DISTANCE BETWEEN MYSELF AND MR. CANTRELL, I HEARD SGT. TROGLIN YELL, “WATCH OUT FOR THAT KNIFE,” AND OBSERVED THE KNIFE ON MR. CANTRELL’S RIGHT HIP. I SLOWED DOWN, SLIGHTLY, AND REACHED FOR MY SERVICE WEAPON. AT THIS TIME I WAS APPROXIMATELY FIVE TO SIX FEET FROM MR. CANTRELL’S LOCATION. AS HE TURNED TO FACE ME, I REALIZED THAT I WAS TOO CLOSE TO ATTEMPT TO STOP AND DRAW MY WEAPON. IN ORDER TO PREVENT MR. CANTRELL FROM CONTINUING TO FLEE OR ATTEMPTING TO DRAW HIS KNIFE, I DELIVERED A SHOULDER TACKLE, WRAPPING MY ARMS AROUND MR. CANTRELL’S BACK, AND TOOK HIM TO THE GROUND. I IMMEDIATELY TURNED MR. CANTRELL INTO THE PRONE AND BEGAN HANDCUFFING HIM. AS I TURNED HIM, I NOTICED THAT HIS BODY WAS LIMP AND THAT HE WAS BLEEDING FROM THE BACK OF HIS HEAD. AFTER HANDCUFFING MR. CANTRELL, I SECURED THE KNIFE FROM IT’S SHEATH ON HIS BELT AND HANDED IT TO SGT. TROGLIN.
A second dash-cam footage shows the officer tackling the suspect to the ground, who was then identified as Terry Cantrell.
Sgt. Troglin’s Report states he noticed Cantrell’s head bleeding, called for an ambulance, and instructed Officer McClure to “get the male off his back, put him on his side, and secure his neck.”
According to photographs of the scene, Cantrell had beer cans in the vehicle. He also registered a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.139 according to GBI Crime Lab results by Gas Chromatography.
FYN also noted seven citations from the incident including Striking a fixed object, Reckless driving, Driving while License was Suspended/Revoked, DUI, Failure to stop at a Stop/Yield sign, Failure to Maintain Lane, and Fleeing/Attempting to elude Police.
According to authorities a single vehicle accident on Tuesday evening, June 13th resulted in injuries.
A Jeep Cherokee was traveling South on Main Street in Ellijay, GA when the driver lost control. The vehicle traveled off the roadway and down through the grass by Gilmer Printing, and ended up on the banks of the river. The female driver who has not yet been identified was air lifted from the scene. Two children, who were passengers in the vehicle, were transported to a hospital to be examined.
The cause of the accident is not yet known FYN will update when more information is available.
Many citizens may still have images fresh in their minds from a horrible accident last October in which a tour bus carrying 53 people collided with an 18-wheeler semi-truck.
Usually, October is a festive time for Gilmer as we host visitors to our county at the apple orchards and at our fairgrounds for the Apple Festival. However, 2016 held a black mark as this tragic accident claimed one life and injured over 40 more. Many recall being rerouted to side rides and detours to avoid the accident.
What not many may remember, is seeing the teams of people scouring the accident in quick action to recover, stabilize, and care for the people involved. Not many people were able to see the organization and action of Gilmer County’s Fire and Rescue workers who responded or the cooperation they held with several other agencies who aided their efforts.
On March 16, 2017, the Northwest Georgia Region 1 EMS decided that what people should remember from the day is exactly what they did not see. They did this as they awarded Gilmer County Fire and Rescue the Richard Gray MD Excellence in Trauma Care Award.
According to Gilmer County Department of Public Safety’s Deputy Director Scott Stephens, the award is to “provide recognition and appreciation to any pre-hospital provider within Northwest Georgia’s Emergency Medical Services/Region 1 system for reducing the morbidity or mortality via outstanding delivery of care to a critically injured patient(s). Named in honor of Dr Richard Gray, the recipient should exhibit excellence in the delivery of care to the trauma patient and / or effected utilization of the Region 1 trauma care system plan.”
With the wreck occurring on Highway 515 between Ellijay and Jasper, Battalion Chief Freeman and Deputy Director Scott Stephens became the first on scene. As emergency crews arrived, triage was established, quickly identifying four people as critically injured.
While these situations are trained for, it was the swiftness and efficiency of the implementation that won Gilmer County Fire and Rescue this award. As a part of the process, written documentation of the event must be submitted for review. One piece of Gilmer’s Submission summed up the days events by saying,
This day would prove to be a day to show how multiple agencies would work together in establishing command, utilization of resources, triage, and patient care of 43 trauma patients to have a successful outcome to a horrible event that most responders will never experience in a 25-year career. The leadership and patient care in a trauma / mci of this magnitude, in the removal, treatment, and transport of 43 patients in 1 hour and 24 minutes from the time the first unit went on scene while maintaining the patient care Region 1 Ems strives to maintain, utilizing 7 other EMS agencies, over 75 personnel, Multiple Area Law Enforcement agencies and every victim that was alive the day they arrived on scene and walked out of the multiple emergency facilities is worthy of the Richard Gray MD Excellence in Trauma Care Award.
While one hopes these men and women serving the county may often hear praise and thanks for their service, it is always a great honor to be able to take that one step further by recognizing those men and women publicly. It is a pride of the county as they took an awful tragedy, and saved lives through their resolve in the face of the accident, through their training for that day, and in their swiftness to carry out their duties.
Stephens went on to say that, “The guidelines would only allow for up to three people be submitted for the award, but truth is the award went to the whole department that participated in the events that day.”