A 13-year-old Dawsonville girl was killed in a head-on crash with a Hall County school bus Wednesday morning in North Hall.
Summer Faith Anderson, a seventh-grader at Dawson County Middle School, was killed in the crash on Thompson Bridge Road north of Murrayville, according to Dawson County Schools Superintendent Damon Gibbs.
Zachary Anderson, 12, a Kilough Elementary School fifth-grader in the same car, was seriously injured and was being transported to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
The driver of the car, Lonnie Anderson, 33, of Dawsonville, was in critical condition after 5 p.m. Wednesday at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, according to the Georgia State Patrol, which is investigating the wreck.
The relationship of the three people in the car wasn’t immediately released by state patrol, although Hall school officials released a statement later saying the system offers its “sincere sympathy and condolences to the Anderson family” and “our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
The wreck involved a Hall County school bus carrying 19 Mount Vernon Exploratory School students and bus driver Barbara Flowers, 65, of Gainesville, who were transported by another school bus to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville for precautionary examinations, Hall County Schools spokesman Gordon Higgins said.
Higgins said there were no reports of serious injuries to Hall students.
Three of the students had “very minor injuries,” according to a state patrol news release.
The wreck happened at about 7:10 a.m. May 16 in the 6000 block of Thompson Bridge Road, according to Hall County Fire Services.
Higgins said Bus No. 2105 and the other vehicle, a 1995 Ford Mustang, collided head-on.
Anderson was driving north on Thompson Bridge Road and the bus was traveling south, according to state patrol.
Anderson’s car “struck standing water on the roadway and hydroplaned,” the release says.
His vehicle then traveled into the southbound lane and hit the bus.
No alcohol or drugs were suspected in this crash, according to the state patrol.
And charges against Lonnie Anderson are “pending based upon the seriousness of his medical condition,” state patrol said.
Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield said “it was an extremely traumatic situation for everybody involved. I was up there with all (the students) and we’ve got some shaken-up kids.”
Higgins said in an email that hospital staff, working with with Hall County school personnel, worked with parents “upon arrival to match them with their children.”
“The result was a welcomed reunion during a very stressful time for both parent and child,” he said.
All 19 students were released from the hospital.
The bus driver had a “complaint of injury,” according to the state patrol release.
Flowers “deserves much credit, not only in bringing the bus to a safe stop after the severe impact, but also on focusing her full attention on the care of her students after the bus had been secured,” Higgins said.
He also noted that two women who witnessed the accident stopped to offer support as Flowers “was going through the bus to reassure the children’s safety and to make sure everyone was OK. Mrs. Flowers said, ‘They were my angels.’”
Parents were informed via the school district's messaging system, Higgins said.
Gibbs informed Dawson County parents and staff about the death in an email and wrote “members of our Crisis Response Team are available to meet with students individually and in groups today as well as over the coming days and weeks.”
Dawson County News reporter Jessica Brown contributed to this report.