BULLITT COUNTY, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Emergency crews responded to an accident involving a school bus on Friday morning, March 14, which left 86-year-old Thomas Crowder dead.
The accident happened near Highway 61 and Belmont Rd. at Lebanon Junction in southern Bullitt County.
Eleven students are said to be on board the bus, which was on its way to Bullitt Central High School.
PHOTOS: computer OR mobile
According to the Bullitt County Sheriff's Office, a car rear-ended the bus after it picked up a student. Officials said the bus was completely stopped and had it's lights and other safety gear engaged. The bus was in a straight stretch of road.
Witnesses reported hearing no signs of the car braking and according to police, the evidence backs their claims.
No students were injured, but they were taken to Jewish South in Bullitt County to be checked. A Bullitt County school spokesperson said all students had been discharged from the hospital as of about 10:30 a.m. Counselors will be on hand to talk to students.
Most of the students were shaken up, but no physical injuries were reported.
"Because of the significance of the impact and because they were understandably upset, the students were transported by EMS and by another school bus to Jewish Hospital South," Eric Farris, the school district's attorney said.
Farris says the 11 students aboard bus 854 were released to their parents a short time later. Some chose to return to school, while others stayed home. Meanwhile, police and crash reconstruction teams remained on scene for four hours, collecting evidence from the crash.
"The bus was stopped with its stop lights on, stop arm extended, when a vehicle hit it in the rear, with substantial impact and the vehicle lodged underneath the bus," Farris said.
The driver of the Grand Marquis, 86-year-old Thomas Crowder died at the scene. It's unknown how fast he was driving, if he was distracted or if a medical condition may have played a factor in the crash. But police say witnesses on scene will play a key role in the investigation.
"A parent or grandparent of one of the student's that was loading there, had actually just turned away from the bus as the child stepped on, and heard the collision, didn't hear any break or anything else, which was consistent with the scene," Lt. Mike Murdoch, with the Bullitt County Sheriff’s Office said.
At this time, alcohol is not suspected though investigators will await toxicology reports and an autopsy before determining the official cause.
Officials closed a two-mile stretch of Highway 61 for around two hours.
The collision remains under investigation by the Bullitt County Sheriff’s Office Collision Reconstruction Team.
Download the WHAS11 News App:
iPhone --> http://bit.ly/12Keh1A
Android --> http://bit.ly/1aPtc4J