Back in December, our blog discussed how much of the state was in mourning following an incredibly tragic school bus accident in the Knoxville area that took the lives of a teacher's aide and two students.
To recap, the No. 44 bus from a local primary school was heading eastbound on Asheville Highway back on December 2, when its driver somehow executed a sharp left turn that caused the vehicle to cross a concrete island and crash into the No. 57 bus, which was filled with kids from another primary school.
The force of the collision was so great that it caused the No. 57 bus to flip over onto its side and slide for a not insubstantial distance over the blacktop before finally coming to a stop.
As we stated earlier, this horrific bus crash took the lives of two children, ages six and eight, and a 46-year-old teacher's aide. Furthermore, 30 people, including the driver of the No. 44 bus, suffered some type of personal injuries.
While state and federal officials found no immediate explanation for the bus accident, one of worst in recent memory, it now appears as if we finally have some answers as to what precipitated it.
According to the Knoxville Police Department, the results of its investigation have revealed that the 48-year-old driver of the No. 44 bus, who recently passed away of what is believed to be natural causes, was actively sending and receiving text messages immediately before the crash.
The news was understandably distressing to the families of the victims, two of whom have indicated that they intend to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the coming weeks.
For its part, Knoxville County Schools have condemned the actions of the bus driver, with one official using the terms "negligence, selfishness and stupidity" in reference to the texting while driving.
It's so disheartening to see that distracted driving continues to be such a deadly problem on our state's roads and highways. Here's hoping that this accident finally serves as a wakeup call to every single driver that texting while driving in any capacity is not only unacceptable, but illegal.