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PORT BARRE, LA – Twenty one school children were injured Friday morning, December 3, when their bus was involved in a truck accident on a highway in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. A semi trailer collided with the school bus as it was pulling back onto U.S. Highway 190 after picking up children near the town of Port Barre. The truck accident area is in the south-central section of the state, about 54 miles west of Baton Rouge, LA and about 157 miles east of Beaumont, Texas.

On Friday morning 52 year old David Cox of Dallas, TX was driving a semi trailer truck on U.S. 190, traveling through St. Landry Parish. His truck is owned by J.B Hunt Transport Services, Inc, based out of Lowell, Arkansas. His destination and cargo at the time of the truck accident is not known.

At the same time 67 year old Gil Savoy of Port Barre was driving a school bus, picking up children for classes for schools in the Port Barre District. Mr. Savoy is a substitute driver and also the mayor of Port Barre. At the time of the truck accident there were 21 children riding the bus, from 5 year old kindergarteners to 17 year old high-school students.

The bus driver, Mr. Savoy, had pulled to the side of U.S. 190 at a spot between Port Barre and the city of Opelousas so some children could board the bus. The warning devices and red lights were activated on the school bus and he was pulling back onto the highway when the truck accident occurred at about 7:30 a.m. Friday morning. According to officials the truck driver, Mr. Cox, came up from behind and crashed into the back of the school bus.

The bus driver would later tell his wife that he looked into his rearview mirror and saw the semi trailer coming up fast on the bus. Camilla Savoy told reporters that her husband shouted a warning to the children and then gripped the steering wheel and managed to hold the bus on the highway during the truck accident. After the collision the bus went several hundred feet before finally coming to a stop. The semi truck came to a rest partially on the shoulder of the highway.


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St. Landry Parish first responders rushed to the scene of the crash. Paramedics helped the children off the damaged bus and all 21 students were stabilized at the scene. Two of the children, reported to be a kindergartener and a student in middle or high school, were severely injured in the truck accident. They were transported by AirMed medical helicopters to Lafayette General Medical Center where both were reported to have injuries requiring surgery. The other 19 children received minor to moderate injuries. They were treated at several different local hospitals and then released to their families.

The bus driver and truck driver were also hurt in the truck accident however their injuries were minor. Both men were required to submit to a routine toxicology screening at the hospital, necessary anytime a large vehicle or commercial truck is involved in an accident. The results of those screenings have not been released.

The force of the rear-end end collision severely damaged the school bus. The front cab section of the tractor trailer was also heavily damaged in the truck accident and the semi was destroyed in the incident. Both large vehicles were towed off the highway.

Louisiana State Police were at the crash site and conducted a reconstruction of the rear-end collision. Witnesses reported seeing parts of the truck falling off the highway moments before the crash but it is unclear if the truck had mechanical problems. Some school officials and parents feel that the highway is an unsafe bus route as the speed limit is 65 MPHs. Friday’s truck accident demonstrated the potential danger of mixing commercial trucks traveling at top speed and slower moving school buses which make frequent stops.

No charges have been brought at this time and the truck accident remains under investigation.

For more information about Louisiana trucking laws, truck injury causes and victims’ rights, contact truck accident lawyers Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP for expert truck accident advice. Visit our Louisiana truck accident lawyer page for more information about Mississippi truck accidents. For a free initial consultation, talk to a truck accident attorney at 1.800.773.6770.

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