The Georgia State Patrol said it appears a vehicle that crashed into a Hall County school bus Wednesday morning hydroplaned on a rain-soaked roadway.
Sgt. Auston Allen wrote in a press statement that Lonnie Anderson, 33, of Dawsonville was traveling south on Thompson Bridge Road near Rufus Bryant Road when he hit standing water on the roadway.
"[Anderson's vehicle] traveled into the southbound lane and struck vehicle #2 [a Hall County school bus] in the front with the front of [his 1995 Ford Mustang]," Allen wrote.
Allen said the Mustang then rotated counter-clockwise and hit the left side of the bus with the Mustang's right side.
Anderson and a 12-year-old passenger, Zachary Anderson, suffered serious injuries. Another passenger in the Mustang, 13-year-old Summer Anderson, died in the crash, according to Allen. All three were from Dawsonville. Dr. Damon Gibbs, the superintendent of Dawson County Schools, confirmed Summer Anderson was a student at Dawson County Middle School. Zachary Anderson attends Kilough Elementary School in Dawson County.
The Hall County school bus, driven by 65-year-old Barbara Flowers, was on the way to Mt. Vernon Elementary School, according to Hall County School District Superintendent Will Schofield. He commended Flowers for her actions during the ordeal.
"She did everything absolutely perfectly," said Schofield. "She was a rock this morning. We are extremely proud of her and how she handled this situation."
There were 19 students on board the bus at the time of the crash, reported at about 7:10 a.m. Three students complained of injuries, according the Georgia State Patrol report. All students on board the bus were taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for evaluation.
"Everybody is certainly okay physically, but emotionally these children have been through a lot this morning," Schofield said. "We will work alongside families to do all we can to support them in the coming days."
Schofield also offered words of praise to emergency crews who helped at all phases of the accident.
"The response and the support from the sheriff's department, from the emergency responders, from the Northeast Georgia hospital staff has been absolutely overwhelming," Schofield said. "They have been there [for us] and done everything we could possibly ask."
Allen said charges are pending against the driver of the Mustang "based upon the seriousness of his medical condition."