Ga. physician praises EMT 'heroes' working fatal school bus crash

The driver died, and seven children were taken to the hospital for their injuries

By Chuck Williams
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A Columbus physician and a father of four children stepped in to assist emergency personnel after a Muscogee County school bus crashed into a tree early this morning.

Jefferson Jones Jr. said he was taking his 11-year-old to Aaron Cohn Middle School Monday just after 8 morning when he came upon the crash site at Garrett and Jackson roads.

He identified himself as a doctor and began to assist the emergency medical personnel, who were already on the scene.

The driver and two children were trapped inside the bus when Jones arrived.

“It is obvious he hit the tree head-on,” Jones said. “That caused the bus to undergo an accordion-type fracture. Everybody else but the three that were trapped were off the bus.”

Jones worked with the EMS personnel to stabilize the victims as they were taken off the bus.

“The kids didn’t have what looked like any life-threatening injuries at the time, but definitely broken bones and lacerations. The bus driver, unfortunately, was in pretty critical condition.”

The bus driver, 67-year-old Roy Newman of Columbus, was pronounced dead at Midtown Medical Center at 11:12 a.m. His body will be sent off for an autopsy at the Georgia Bureau Investigation crime lab in Decatur.

The condition of the seven children on the bus remains unknown. Four of the students were rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, and three were treated at the scene. The parents of those treated at the scene took their children to the hospital for further examination, Fuller said.

Jones praised the work of the first responders.

“Those guys were true heroes,” Jones said. “I was telling my dad, who is a physician in town, that those guys selflessly did their jobs. They’re heroes. They got those kids out of there. They were fantastic.”

Jones helped EMTs work on the driver.

“I want to send my condolences to his family,” Jones said. “I wish we could have done something different. The good Lord just didn’t have it in his cards today.”

Jones is an OBGYN, but he has some working knowledge of trauma care, he said.

“I figured I would at least try to help,” he said.

Copyright 2016 the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

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