Randolph County NC School Bus Driver Crashes After Falling Asleep at Wheel

12/07/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, US // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Randolph County, NC—A Randolph County school bus driver was suspended pending an investigation into a Monday morning, Dec. 6, 2010 bus crash. According to information provided by WGHP, the bus driver told North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers he fell asleep behind the wheel, causing the bus to hit a mailbox before careening down an embankment.

Reports indicated 47-year-old Stewart Ray Gatlin, of Seagrove, told NCSHP officials that he had taken an allergy medication the night before the crash. He contended it might have caused him to become drowsy and fall asleep while operating a Southwest Randolph High School bus.

According to a Randolph County Schools spokesperson, the school bus crashed down an embankment around 6:30 a.m., in close proximity to Charles Mountain Road and Hogan Farm Trail.

A student aboard the bus, Cassy James alleged, “We felt it swerve. We thought he was trying to miss an animal or something, and then it didn’t stop. Everything started flying to one side. We couldn’t really see what happened, as it happened so fast.”

One of the five students aboard the bus, who remained unidentified, reportedly suffered an elbow injury in the school bus accident.

Responding EMS personnel treated him at the scene before his mother transported him to urgent care to receive further medical attention.

State Highway Patrol troopers cited Gatlin for speeding and driving left of center. He was also temporarily suspended as Randolph County Schools officials probed the wreck, and as toxicology results were pending.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan– Legal News for North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers.

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