MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – There are still more questions than answers in the Mt. Zion Baptist bus crash. This is an emotional situation, with a family mourning the loss of a daughter, and many other families praying that their loved ones will heal at the hospital.
Investigators also have a job to do – to see if accidents like these can be prevented.
“They’re going to look at everything,” says Tony Mastando, a local attorney.
Mastando says, naturally, most crash investigations start with the person behind the wheel.
“Of course they’re going to focus on the driver and what sort of condition the driver was in, did the driver have enough rest?” he says.
Mastando says the biggest question will be, did the driver of the church bus have the proper license?
“For vehicles that are designed to carry more than 16 passengers, the driver should have a CDL – a commercial drivers license,” explains Mastando.
Fulton County officers say they aren’t aware if the driver had a CDL Class C license. Under Alabama law, Mt. Zion’s bus driver would need one, because there were 38 passengers on board.
“In order to get the license, you’d have to go through a knowledge test and a skills test. The skills test would show your basic vehicle control. It would show your pre-road trip inspection of the vehicle,” says Mastando.
He says investigators will also take a close look at the bus itself. They’ll need to explore whether everything on the bus was working properly.
“[Did] the crumple zones acted properly? The braking systems were appropriate for the load of the bus, that sort of thing,” he says.
Despite all the questions and the desire for answers, Tony stresses not to jump to any conclusions.
“Let the investigation run its course,” he says.
Mastando says the most important factor is not where to point fingers, but how to prevent collisions like these in the first place.
“Figure out how in the future incidents like this, how they can minimize the likelihood of those recurring,” says Mastando.
The Fulton County Police announced Friday morning, there are charges pending in this case but that it could be several days before those are announced.
The last we heard from officers, the driver is still in the hospital and they have not been able to speak with that individual.