Vina man responsible for bus crash
A Vina man is being held responsible for the wreck that caused a Franklin County school bus to overturn and injured multiple people in November 2012, officials said.
Channing Haithcock, 21, 1306 Jacksontown Rd., Vina, was indicted by the November grand jury on 21 counts of third-degree assault and 21 counts of reckless endangerment, Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said.
Rushing said each count represents a student or bus driver who was injured as a result of the crash.
“This wreck was investigated by the Alabama State Troopers for several months, and at the conclusion of their investigation, they presented their findings to a Franklin County grand jury,” Rushing said.
“Based on testing the crash investigators conducted, they were able to determine Mr. Haithcock was traveling at a very high rate of speed when the accident occurred.
“Based on that and other evidence, the grand jury felt there was enough evidence to indict Mr. Haithcock on the assault and reckless endangerment charges.”
The wreck occurred on Nov. 1, 2012, about 3:20 p.m. near Alabama 172 and Overton Farm Road in Hodges.
Authorities confirmed there were 29 students, all from Vina School, ranging in age from kindergarten to high school students, on the bus at the time of the wreck.
Of those, officials said at least 20 students were taken to different hospitals and all were treated and released.
He said the injuries ranged from bumps and bruises to a small concussion, but none of the injuries were life-threatening.
Trooper Curtis Summerville, public information officer for the Alabama State Troopers, said Haithcock was the driver of the 2004 Chevrolet Silverado pick-up that collided with the bus.
Officials said at the time the wreck occurred, the bus was on its regular route heading west on Alabama 172 and was turning off the highway onto Overton Farm Road when Haithcock, who was also heading west, ran off the highway and struck the bus from behind, flipping it over.
The truck struck the bus in the area of the back right tire.
Authorities said multiple emergency vehicles responded to the scene as well as several concerned community residents.
“All of the emergency personnel at the scene from all the county agencies did a great job,” Franklin County Superintendent Gary Williams said the day of the accident.
“We were hearing all kinds of rumors and terrible things, but thankfully, those turned out not to be the case. We are extremely blessed and thankful that no one was hurt any worse than they were.”
Rushing said Haithcock’s case should be set for arraignment in January and could be placed on the criminal trial docket as soon as April.