Crash with 83-year-old bus driver brings attention to how schools are keeping kids safe


PITTSYLVANIA Co., Va. (WSET) -- After an 83-year-old bus driver was charged in connection to a crash that sent 10 juveniles to the hospital, many had questions as to how school systems go about making sure the people taking your children to school are qualified.

John Henry Patterson, is being charged with failure to yield the right of way.

Police said Patterson failed to yield the right of way while making a left turn from Oakland Drive onto Mount Cross Road and was hit by a driver in a pickup truck.

Virginia has solid laws on requirements for school bus drivers, but an age limit isn't one of them.

According to state code, the requirements for school bus drivers are that you be at least 18-years-old.

There is no maximum age.

State law does require yearly physical exams by the Board of Education.

To be considered for the job, you must show records that you have not been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, convicted of refusing to take a blood or breath test, convicted of a felony, or assigned to any alcohol safety action program or driver alcohol rehabilitation program in the past five years.

Bus drivers must also submit to alcohol and controlled substance tests.

You also cannot be convicted of two or more moving traffic violations.

Bus drivers must also have two references who work in the school division who can vouch for them.

There were 18 kids on the bus with Patterson, eight were taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

The driver of the pickup truck, identified as a 17-year-old boy, was wearing his seatbelt and was also taken to the hospital for his injuries, also his passenger, a 15-year-old boy, was taken to the hospital in Danville.

Police said the crash remains under investigation.

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