One month after JCPS bus crash, students still healing


by Bryan Baker

Posted on October 24, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 25 at 9:23 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The idea for sixth grader Jacari Wales' family was to pull him from Frost Middle School after a Jefferson County Public School bus crashed last month on the way to its destination, a 40-some minute ride from Portland in West Louisville to Frost in southwest Jefferson County.

Wales' family thought the bus ride was too long, and once he and 46 other students on board that bus were hurt, for them, enough was enough. Wales broke his collarbone and hurt his spine. Three other Butler High School students were in a car that ran a stop sign and t-boned the bus, flipping it, in wet conditions on September 28. All 51 students involved were hurt and spent at least part of the day in hospitals.

But 26 days after the crash, with the pain still healing for some of the kids, Jacari is still at Frost Middle, still riding the same 40-minute route to get there.

"It takes too long for him to get the hard transfer," said Jacari's Grandmother, Jackie Wales. "I told (Jacari's Father) just go on and let him continue going to where he's going."

That means Jacari revisits the wreck and his pain daily.

"Everyday we ride home from school I always see like, once we ride past where we got wrecked, I always see tire marks and the grass, how it has dents in it from the wheel," Jacari said.

He's still wearing a back brace and a sling, which he doesn't take off unless he's sleeping. He'll see the spine doctor soon to determine if there's any long term damage to a disc he injured in his back. Jacari's friend, seventh grader Daeshaun Jones is further along in the healing process but still feels the effects of a fractured leg. He also sports a scar from a deep gash he had on his forehead from the crash.

"I can't do all the stuff I used to do before the accident, like back flips and somersaults and everything else," said Daeshaun.

The students have become somewhat of celebrities at school for their shared experience.

"They were like, 'Was you crying, scared?' and I was like, 'I don't really know.' My adrenaline was pumping. I really didn't feel anything at that point. Then when my adrenaline went down, that's when I felt mostly everything," Daeshaun added.

26 days later the students hope the physical pain and the memory of the crash will someday begin to fade.

The three Butler High students were not charged or cited by Louisville Metro Police, because accident investigators determined conditions were wet. LMPD can't cite them for misdemeanors, even though they determined the driver ran a stop sign, because they must witness them being committed.