Students, Authorities Address Driver's Citation Following Harris - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Students, Authorities Address Driver's Citation Following Harrison County School Bus Crash

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Tuesday marks one week since a Harrison County school bus went over an embankment and into the Bingamon Creek.

Since then, its driver has been cited for failure to maintain control of his vehicle, and community members are speaking out against that citation.

"Anytime a person slides on ice, they lose control. And I'm sure it was much more difficult to control a bus full of kids than it would have been a car," said student Heather Gooden.

Gooden is a student at Lincoln High School. She was a passenger on the bus that crashed into a creek off Joetown Road.

"There have been two vehicles go over that embankment in the last month," said Gooden.

Cpl. S.D. Swiger's preliminary investigation revealed that the school bus slid on the icy road, sideswiped a quad axle dump truck, and went approximately 80 feet over the embankment.

Cpl. Swiger said last Thursday that he cited the bus driver, Ryan Cain, for failing to maintain control of the vehicle.

"It's sad to think he saved 27 lives, including mine, and is being blamed for the accident," said Gooden.

Students sent cards to Cain, and community members took to social media to express their outrage.

"All the representatives that were there from the school board, all the law enforcement that was there, at that particular time, all saw the same thing.It doesn't mean that he's a reckless driver, but that particular moment, at that particular time, the speed that the bus was going was at a speed greater than he could maintain his lane," said Sergeant G.P. Doyle of the West Virginia State Police.

While state police are grateful that no one was injured in that crash, they said it serves as a wake-up call for any drivers to take the weather conditions into consideration, when getting behind the wheel.

Doyle, who is not the investigating officer in this case and limited his comments regarding its circumstances, said he's responded to similar incidents.

"There's a lot of reasons why cars go left of center. Weather is obviously one. The fact that the driver can't see the lanes very well," said Doyle.

But from a passenger's standpoint, students on the Harrison County school bus don't believe that speed was a factor. Parents said Cain is a hero for keeping their kids safe, and many blamed the road itself - not the driver.

"They're all really thankful for all that he did," said Gooden.

Gooden said that several Harrison County bus drivers planned to chip in to help Cain pay that citation.

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