Bus passengers, families shaken up by wreck

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

Leonard King walked the halls at Vaughan Regional Medical Center as X-ray technicians took images of his 10-year-old daughter, Christie, in another room.

Christie, the baby girl of King&8217;s four children, was one of six students riding a special needs bus Wednesday afternoon that collided with a Chevrolet Silverado on Alabama Highway 22 near Plantersville.

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The accident claimed the life of the truck driver, Zach Cozadd, a senior at Dallas County High School. Witnesses said Cozadd&8217;s truck collided head-on with the bus.

None of the children were seriously injured, authorities said.

Bus driver Barbara Jiles and her unidentified assistant also went to the hospital.

Charles Jiles, the bus driver&8217;s husband, said his wife had complained of chest and leg pains.

Charles Jiles said his wife had picked up a student from Dallas County High School minutes before the accident occurred.

The bus contained students from Martin Middle School, Valley Grande Elementary and Brantley Elementary schools.

Three of the students use wheelchairs and three use walkers.

At least one parent pulled up on the scene and ran to the bus to find her wheelchair bound son, said Laurie Rich, a friend of the parent, who also traveled the same route Wednesday just minutes after the accident.

Schools superintendent Dr. Fannie Major-McKenzie and several members of the Dallas County School Board were at the accident scene and the hospital.

Two of the children had been released from the emergency room by 6 p.m., and the bus driver&8217;s aide was uninjured.