Deadly TN school bus crash brings back frightening memories for local parents

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) —  The images of a school bus in Chattanooga wrapped around a tree bring back terrible memories for Hillsborough County parents whose children were also in a bus accident.

In Chattanooga, multiple children were killed. In the Odessa crash in Hillsborough in September of 2015, the children weren’t physically injured.

“That could’ve been our daughter. That could’ve been our bus and the fact that you know somehow we made it through, I feel very fortunate, very lucky. But, my heart goes out to the parents and all the folks who lost their loved ones,” said parent Krishna Sadasivam, whose daughter Sonia was on that bus last year.

“She still goes on the bus now. I mean she’s been able to process it and move and you know anything about the bus accident, we try to keep all of that stuff shielded,” added Sadasivam.

30 kids were on the Hillsborough Bus that crashed into a lake along Nine Eagles Drive. The bus was on its side and the older children worked to get the younger children out of the wrecked bus. The driver, Lenoir Sainfimin, was cited in the crash and is no longer with the district. Investigators found that Sainfimin was speeding and hit both the brakes and the gas in his attempts to stop.

Some of the children no longer ride the bus to school, while some still have memories of the accident. One parent told News Channel 8 that his wife burst into tears after seeing the video from the Chattanooga accident.

“I did see the bus topple over and it was horrible. It’s absolutely horrible, I can’t believe it,” Sadasivam. “I’m very curious to know what is going to happen with this Chattanooga case. I think that is going to set a precedent.”

“One of things I would definitely like to have from Hillsborough county a kind of like this is who your driver is going to be, what their driving record it. That’s all we ask, we want to know who is driving our kids, we want to know what corrective actions are taking place,” said Sadasivam.

News Channel 8 reached out the Hillsborough School District on Tuesday.

A spokesman told us that any parent can get in touch with the district and request the file for any bus driver. The district also said it provides more training that the state requires. The district also runs background checks and evaluates the drivers yearly.

A new safety and training staff member has been added, but not in response to the 2015 accident.

RELATED: Hillsborough school bus driver fired, charged after pond crash provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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