"The lines were not all the way down -- it was pitch black dark, it was probably about 6:30, 6:40 [a.m.] -- and when the bus came down through there, the roof hatches on top of the bus caught the lines," Jody Elrod, the school district's transportation director, said of the incident that occurred on Road No. 3 just off Mission Road.
"I don't actually think at the beginning it was the power line that it caught -- it might have been one of the fiber optic cables, telephone line or something -- but once it hooked those lines, it wound up pulling the whole pole," Elrod added. "The entire pole came down in front of the bus, and there were a couple of guide wires, it looked like, and I don't know for sure if it was the power line or the telephone line, but we treated as if it was [the power line]. Anytime there's a line like that, we're going to treat it as if it is a power line and use those same precautions."
Elrod said officials with Georgia Power and the Bartow County Fire Department arrived on the scene minutes after the lines were caught. After power company workers got all the lines off the bus, the vehicle was able to back out and resume operations. He said only two children were on the special needs bus at the time.
"It was a pretty interesting morning, but we got the bus out, got the kids onto school, and then brought the bus in, because it actually took the roof hatches off the top of the bus," he added.
In addition to the downed lines, downed trees in the Mission Road area as well as the area around Georgia 20 and Spur 20 required several school buses to be re-routed during the morning.