What investigators still need to know about the deadly Georgia bus crash

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SOUTH FULTON, Ga. - Fulton County Deputy Chief Darryl Halbert and other leaders in the South Fulton area revealed more details Friday following Thursday's bus crash outside Atlanta.

"We want to say that our hearts go out to the family of the youth, who lost her life in this incident," said Fulton County Police Deputy Chief Darryl Halbert.

He said those who were injured in the crash ranged from age 16 to 71.

Preliminary information from Fulton County Police indicates that the driver of the bus from Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Madison County attempted to change lanes when it collided with a Chrysler already in the lane. Charges, police said previously, are pending.

Now, Halbert said if there are any charges, it will take several days to file them.

Police still need to know more about the bus driver, which will come as the investigation unfolds. As of Friday afternoon's news conference, police said they had not interviewed the driver because he was still in the hospital with what were believed to be serious injuries.

Deputy Chief Halbert was unable to confirm whether the driver was a church member, or whether that driver had a CDL license.

However, Halbert said his investigators can already rule out one potential factor in crashes:

"Not to my knowledge, no speeding was involved in this incident," he said.

The drivers of the two other cars involved, the Mercedes and the Chrysler, were treated and released from area hospitals.

Halbert said investigators will conduct a crash reconstruction in the coming days, to get measurements and determine points of impact.

They also plan to examine the bus, which has been taken to a secure location.

Halbert said, "During the course of their investigation they will look at the bus and make a thorough review to make sure there was nothing mechanical that could have caused this."

Investigators don't believe there is any video from inside the bus they can use to help with the investigation.

Police have no clear timeline on when the investigation will end. They did, however, comment that it is believed to be simple to determine what happened during the crash.

"I was at the scene yesterday and I talked to accident investigators and I said, 'What is your gut feeling about this right now?' [The investigators] said well it should be fairly cut and dry," explained Halbert.

Meanwhile, the community is Fulton Strong, and standing tall for the Madison County victims.

Chaplains will help those who need spiritual uplifting, and the investigators will continue their work to get to the bottom of what happened on Camp Creek Parkway.

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