Juanice Gray | Editor
A school bus with children on board was travelling along the Many/Marthaville Road when a culvert partially collapsed.
Parish President John Richmond said the highway crew and supervisor Johnny Salard were on the scene and would replace the culvert and repair the area tonight.
Richmond said as the bus crossed the culvert and the driver realized it was compromised, she observed every safety protocol by disembarking the students to safety then driving to the other side of the culvert.
Richmond confirmed two students were walked safely around some standing water to the other side of the culvert. He said there was no flooding present. There were no injuries.
“The culvert had some rust and simply collapsed under the bus’s weight,” Richmond said.
That road has received some patching recently, but at this time it is unclear whether the culvert was marked for repair/replacement.
We have contacted ECCO Ride terminal manager Albert Mathews to verify this report. He said bus driver Patricia Hall, a veteran driver of 34 years, is the “ECCO Ride bus hero of the day.” He said she had nine students on board.
Hall related to Mathews that when the front tires of the bus went over the culvert it felt different. “When the back tires hit she said she felt it give way so she accelerated to get to safety,” Mathews said. Once she stopped she saw it had caved in.
Mathews said Hall saw a motorist approaching the area and went back to alert them of the danger.
He said the Parish Road Crew was working and he trusts they will have repairs made so the bus can pick up and return students along that route Monday.
We will update as details come in.