Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Driver May Face Charges in Bus Crash Camden Prosecutor to Seek Criminal Case

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Driver May Face Charges in Bus Crash Camden Prosecutor to Seek Criminal Case

Article excerpt

Byline: Teresa Stepzinski, Times-Union staff writer

KINGSLAND -- District Attorney Stephen Kelley said yesterday he will seek criminal charges against the driver of a charter bus that crashed in Camden County in April, injuring 46 high school students and chaperones from North Carolina.

Kelley said prosecutors will present the case next month to a county grand jury.

"We will be looking at multiple counts of serious injury by a vehicle. Each count is punishable by one to 15 years in prison," Kelley said. "It is a felony and the most serious [state] charge possible in this type of case."

Kelley declined comment about potential evidence in the case. However, troopers from the Georgia State Patrol as well as state and federal transportation authorities who investigated the crash could be called as witnesses before the grand jury, officials said.

The bus carrying Massey Hill Classical High School students and chaperones crashed and overturned April 6 on Interstate 95 in Camden County about a mile north of the Georgia-Florida state line. The students were en route from the Cumberland County, N.C., school to an orchestra and choral competition in Orlando.

Everyone aboard was injured. A dozen students were hospitalized in St. Marys and Jacksonville for several days following the crash.

The bus apparently had defective brakes and was being operated without proper insurance, according to reports filed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration based on investigations by state and federal authorities into the crash.

In addition, injured passengers and other witnesses told state troopers that the bus driver had been weaving and might have fallen asleep at the wheel right before the crash.

The bus driver, Darol Wayne Britt, 38, of Fayetteville, N.C., told investigators immediately after the crash that he had been cut off by another vehicle in traffic.

Britt couldn't be reached for comment. A Durham lawyer representing Britt in two lawsuits filed by injured students declined comment about the brake and insurance allegations.

Meanwhile, Britt faces a misdemeanor charge filed by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles in connection with the crash. …

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