Residents on Keel Mountain concerned about school bus traveling on icy road

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) –  Freezing conditions on Tuesday made for a rough morning for residents on top of Keel Mountain.

"I slid and I did two donuts and slid into a rail," said resident Paul Fontenot.

Around 5 a.m. Fontenot took his truck out to check on the roads, worried about unsafe conditions for school buses, and he tried to alert Madison County Schools.

"I called them to let them know I just slid down the mountain, but as soon as you punch 1, the phone goes dead," said Fontenot. "I was upset."

As we drove up and down Keel Mountain on Tuesday morning it was easy to see why parents were concerned about the buses.  The road has several twists and turns.  There's not much of a shoulder and we hit several slick spots.

We contacted Madison County Schools about parent concerns and received this statement:

"We do not have a hot line for weather, the hot line is for bullying and is monitored by the school systems' SRO (School Resource Officer).

Discussing weather; We have a severe weather team that monitors the weather 48 hours in advance of a potential inclement weather situation.  The day of the pending weather; the staff is riding the roads by 4:00 a.m.  Keel Mountain is our highest elevation and takes additional manpower and consideration to be assured the roads are safe for travel.  This morning an operations supervisor was on top of Keel Mountain and waited as the roads were salted by the county commission and did not leave the mountain until the roads were safe for passage.  This is standard operation on a day with inclement weather."

Three hours after Fontenot's slippery drive, a bus came to pick his kids up for school.  He said he is still worried and hopes this can be avoided in the future.

"I would really like to see some kind of emergency contact with the Madison County school district," said Fontenot.

When WHNT News 19 called the hotline around 10 a.m. Tuesday our call was disconnected as well. We alerted the school district who said they immediately worked to fix the issue. When we called the hotline at 11:30 a.m. the hotline was fixed.

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