CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — The person critically injured in Sunday night’s college charter bus crash has been upgraded to stable condition and was expected to make a full recovery, Chesterfield Fire and EMS spokesman Lt. Jason Elmore said Tuesday. The identity of the person injured in the crash has not been released.
The person was one of more than 30 people hurt when the charter bus they were riding back to college following Thanksgiving break overturned on Powhite Parkway just south of Richmond. The bus driver, Thomas B. Chidester, 58, of Salem, was charged with reckless driving. Virginia State Police said speed played a role in the crash.
Students from Virginia Tech and Radford were on the bus at the time of the crash, a spokesman for Abbott Trailways said in a statement.
Student injured in charter bus crash calls Chesterfield mom ‘guardian angel’
Radford freshman Emma Wheat suffered a broken collar bone and two broken ribs in the crash.
“First, the bus started shifting,” she said. “Everyone was screaming. We were all on the ground.”
Tina Johnson had been on the way home from getting medicine for her sick husband, but stopped immediately to help.
"I saw a female crawling out of the bus,” Johnson said in an interview Monday. “I asked if she was OK, and she said ‘Yes, but you need to start praying for the 50 kids on that bus.’"
Johnson said hearing the word "kids" made her motherly instincts kick in to high gear. She ran toward the wrecked bus to help in any way possible. That's where she met Wheat for the first time.
"I put a blanket over her, prayed with her,” Johnson said. “She held my hand and asked me not to leave until the ambulance came."
"I am so thankful for her," the 19-year-old Wheat said repeatedly."I am so thankful she stayed with me until the paramedics arrived."
A lot of people asked WTVR CBS 6 why the bus was headed southbound when the two colleges they were headed for were both west.
A source close to the investigation said the bus driver had been told about several accidents on I-64 near Afton Mountain, so he decided to take an alternate route.