School bus driver charged with falling asleep at the wheel; parents worried by crash

The bus that crashed on Cherokee Mountain Road, in the shop for post-crash inspection. (Thomas Gray/WCYB)

Washington County, Tennessee school bus driver Lanty Lindley is accused of falling asleep at the wheel, leading to a Tuesday afternoon crash that sent five students to the hospital, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

It happened in the 400 block of Cherokee Mountain Road near Jonesborough. Investigators are charging the driver for failure to exercise due care.

State police inspectors went over every inch of the bus Wednesday, trying to find any problems that could have contributed to the crash.

"They looked at the damage to the vehicle and any possible defects that could have caused the crash,” THP spokesperson Lieutenant Rick Garrison said. “They've actually ruled that out."

Investigators and a witness said that Lindley admitted to falling asleep.

"The driver was slumped over the steering wheel, and I talked to him for a second,” Jack Bennett said. “He said he was nauseous and he had went to sleep."

Bennett is the father of one of the children on the bus and lives next to where the bus went off the road and crashed into a tree.

"We heard a loud thump, boom from the tree up there when it hit,” Bennett said. “I went out to check."

His son James came running and said the bus wrecked.

"It worried me to death,” Bennett said. “I worry about that boy all the time."

Though the wreckage looked bad, James will be ok.

"He was a little sore, but he's alright," Bennett said.

Five others went to the hospital for minor injuries.

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