Walker Co. transit bus hits car, elderly woman in critical condition
A North Georgia woman is fighting for her life after driving into the path of a transit bus.
It happened in the Flinstone area of Walker County Friday afternoon.
Thankfully, those on the bus have only minor injuries, but the driver of the car, 82-year-old Cassie Owen, is in Erlanger in critical condition. County officials say she's suffering from swelling in the brain.
The wreck happened at the intersection of Highway 193 and Highway 341. Drivers on Highway 193 do not have a stop sign, but drivers crossing from Highway 341 do.
"We have a lot of wrecks at that intersection, and it's for failure to yield right of way most every time," Georgia State Patrol Sgt. Chris Debord says.
Sgt. Debord responded to yet another accident there Friday, but this one was way more than a fender bender, because it was between a Walker County transit bus and a Buick.
"According to witnesses, she did not even stop for the stop sign. She just entered the intersection and was hit by the transit bus in the left side," Sgt. Debord says.
Sgt. Debord says 82-year-old Cassie Owen was driving on Highway 341, then crossed into the center of Highway 193, at the same time as the transit bus.
"Actually pulled across in front of them and the speed limit there is 55 miles per hour, so they t-boned the car and hit her," Walker County Coordinator David Ashburn says.
"I don't think any excessive speed was involved. I mean, it's going to be a hard hit with either vehicle," Sgt. Debord says.
The 82-year-old was unconscious and unable to explain why she didn't stop. She's being treated for a serious head injury.
"Due to her age, yes, I'm surprised that she's survived as of now,' Sgt. Debord says.
The accident report shows she was wearing her seat belt, as were the bus driver, and the sole passenger on board at the time. They were both treated for minor injuries.
"We've had the buses have wrecks, but nothing to this extent," Ashburn says.
Sgt. Debord hopes this is a wake up call to anyone traveling this intersection.
"You've got to stop and look and take time to watch traffic. You can't just pull up to an intersection like that and just glance both ways and then go," Sgt. Debord says.
The bus is totaled. Now they're down to 10 buses to cover the county's transit routes. County officials hope to get a loaner bus from the state until insurance pays for a new one.
Georgia State Patrol says no charges have been filed against her yet, but could.