Parents are praising the driver of a Sequatchie Valley Head Start school bus for saving the lives of their children.

The bus was involved in a crash Friday afternoon on Highway 108 in Altamont when a car crossed the center line.

Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum said the crash would have been a lot worse if it weren't for the bus driver and the over the shoulder seat belts the children were wearing.

Rosalie McGee started riding the bus to school six months ago.

The 3-year-old attends Sequatchie Valley Head Start in Coalmont.

"She loves getting to ride the bus with her friends and getting to hang out with them before going to school," her father Adam McGee said.

Her father said Rosalie was one of 12 students on the school bus Friday when it was hit by a car driven by Shannon Hargis.

Authorities said she was driving under the influence.

"I knew right away this wasn't just a fender bender. This was a serious accident," McGee added.

Rosalie, her classmates and the bus driver, Faith Caldwell, are okay but Sheriff Shrum said the impact of the crash was so severe, it broke the rear axle of the bus.

"She managed to get her bus almost completely out of the lane travel near the shoulder of the road, actually it was off the roadway a little bit. That caused the vehicle to strike the side of the bus instead of head on," Sheriff Shrum said.

Sheriff Shrum and McGee call Caldwell a hero because they know the outcome could have been a lot different if it were not for her actions and ability to stay calm.

"I hope this is a message to people that no matter what you do in your spare time please stay off the road. This could have ended so much worse and there were so many children on there," McGee said.

Caldwell was not hurt in the crash.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol charged Hargis with DUI but has not released a crash report detailing the arrest.

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