VALDOSTA – An Illinois-based trucking company has issued a statement following a deadly crash involving one of their trucks and a Lowndes County school bus on Interstate 75 Monday afternoon.
At approximately 3:15 p.m., a 2005 Freightliner tractor-trailer, driven by Michael Scarpaci, 58, of Lockport, Illinois and owned by CR Transport, Inc. of Joliet, Illinois, was traveling south on I-75 carrying an over-sized load of metal beams.
The metal beams of the tractor trailer, along with the trailer, collided with the rear driver’s side of Lowndes County School Bus #0908, which was transporting approximately 30 students from Lowndes High School to Lowndes Middle School, according to the Georgia State Patrol.
A video recorded by someone at the scene and uploaded to Facebook appears to show Scarpaci explain what may have led to the crash.
“I drifted,” Scarpaci said. “I was trying to catch what was falling down. I looked up and drifted.”
Thirteen children were transported by ambulance to South Georgia Medical Center for treatment of injuries sustained in the crash. An additional six children were transported by private vehicles to South Georgia Medical Center for treatment.
Rebecca Hall, 15, of Valdosta later died at SGMC as the result of her injuries.
CR Transport of Joliet, Illinois has issued the following statement regarding the incident:
We at CR Transport are heartbroken and we extend our deepest sympathies to all who have been impacted by the horrible accident yesterday on I-75 involving a school bus transporting Lowndes High School students. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ms. Hall’s family, the children who were injured and their families, and the entire Lowndes County community. We are very thankful for the first responders for their incredible work and for everyone else who provided aid and comfort at the scene of the accident. We are and will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities in their investigation. We will not be issuing any further public comment until the investigation is completed.
With heavy hearts we remain sincerely yours,
CR Transport, Inc.
The GSP Specialized Reconstruction Team is investigating the incident. Both drivers have consented to drug and alcohol testing, but investigators do not believe they were factors in the incident. Charges will be pending until the investigation is complete.