MAUMELLE, Ark. (KTHV) – A Pulaski County school bus carrying high schoolers and middle schoolers got stuck after the driver attempted to drive through flood waters.
The incident occurred around 8 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21.
Seventeen students were on the bus, but everyone made it out safely.
"I was kind of shocked when we started falling. I was like ‘Oh my god!’ I hoped we wouldn’t flip completely,” Kimberly Hodges said.
Hodges was on the bus when it got stuck. She said they were on the bus for almost two hours.
"Everyone was kind of hysterical for a little while. We just couldn't believe what was happening,” Hodges said.
Hodge’s Aunt, Debby Lee, saw the bus while it was stuck. She said she could not believe buses were even driving on the flooded roads.
"I just sat and prayed until we could wait out almost two hours to get them off,” Lee said. “If a bus driver sees water, they should not drive through it. It was daylight when I was here and the bus was already in the ditch."
Deb Roush with the Pulaski County School District said the public works department was able to pull students out.
"We were able to just take them out on a four wheeler, take them out on to a bus and all of the students are at school right now,” Roush said.
Crews were able to pull the bus out of the water around noon. The bus had minimal damage, besides a broken door.
“The bus is going to be okay. That’s important too because that’s an expensive piece of equipment,” Roush said.
She also said this was a freak accident.
“Our drivers are very cautious. Typically areas of the county will be blocked off. That was not the case this morning and so that’s what happened.”
However, Lee said she is still upset because the kids were on the bus until 10 a.m.
“When they told me that rescue was coming, it was over 35 minutes before the fire department got here. And they walked up to the bus, assessed it and they left,” Lee said.
Although Lee’s niece Kimberly is safe, she hopes the district will do something to prevent this from happening again.
"We count on the bus drivers to have our kids and this did not happen this morning. We were completely failed by Pulaski County Transportation and a bus driver,” Lee said.
Roush said the district will continue to monitor the roads and the weather over the next few days. They will determine if alternate bus routes will be needed.
Pulaski County School District will be closed Feb. 22. This will be AMI day three.