Driver in School Bus Crash "Felt Dizzy" Prior to Accident

By Julie Carey
|  Monday, Oct 21, 2013  |  Updated 8:24 PM EDT
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Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey has exclusive new details on what happened in the moments leading up to a school bus crash that put 16 kids and the driver in the hospital in Loudoun County.

Julie Carey

Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey has exclusive new details on what happened in the moments leading up to a school bus crash that put 16 kids and the driver in the hospital in Loudoun County.

A Loudoun County bus driver told one parent she was "feeling dizzy" just minutes before her bus ran off the road, plowed through a fence and hit a tree last month.

Sixteen children and the bus driver were taken to the hospital after the bus crashed on the way to Mountain View Elementary in Purcellville on Sept. 20. There were no serious injuries.

A search warrant affidavit filed by the Loudoun County Sheriff's Department shows an investigator seized the bus driver's medical treatment records from Inova Loudoun Hospital on the day of the accident.

After interviewing the driver, the investigator learned day learned the 64-year-old had taken antibiotics for a medical condition and a prescription drug.

The document, obtained by News4's Julie Carey, also lays out some unusual conversations between the driver and parents along the largely rural bus route. At one bus stop, a parent reported the driver asked him to watch the bus while she used the bathroom -- but the parent told the investigator the driver never left her seat.

At the second to last bus stop on Tranquility Road, just minutes before the crash, the driver told another parent she felt dizzy.

After the driver turned the next corner onto W. Main Street, the bus ran off the road.

The court document shows when a passerby got on the bus to help the driver, she was slumped over the wheel and unresponsive.

When she came to and the passerby asked what happened, the driver replied, "I blacked out."

The crash raises questions about what bus driver should do if they become sick behind the wheel. A Loudoun County Public Schools spokesman says the district policy instructs drivers who feel ill to call dispatch and ask for a relief driver or medical assistance.

Under district policy, if a driver is taking medication they are required to ask their doctor if medication could impair their driving.

The school district spokesman said the driver involved in the crash, a 14-year veteran, has not driven since the incident.

The sheriff's department said their investigation is closed. They said because the crash was considered a medical emergency, no charges will be filed.

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