Victim identified in bus crash; 7 students injured

Published 6:50 pm Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Dothan man is dead and seven Opp students were taken by ambulance to hospital after bus was involved in an accident Wednesday morning.

Covington County Coroner Norman Hobson identified the victim as Jason Jeffcoat.

According to Opp Police Chief Mike McDonald, patrol and fire units responded to the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 84 West and Substation Road around 7:11 a.m.

“A 2006 Opp City Board of Education school bus had just loaded students at the intersection and was located on the eastbound side of Hwy. 84 West when a 2004 Mercedes struck the rear of the school bus,” he said. “The children that were on the bus were evacuated from the bus and seven of the children that complained of having pain were transported to Mizell Memorial Hospital emergency room by local ground ambulances for non-life threatening injuries.

The driver, a 40-year-old male, died at the scene of the accident as a result of injuries, McDonald said.

Hwy. 84 Eastbound was shut down for about two hours for clean-up and investigation, but is back open.

The Covington County Sheriff’s Department assisted the Opp Police Department with traffic control.

The investigation of this crash continues by the OPD and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency traffic homicide unit.

OCS Superintendent Michael Smithart said their thoughts and prayers are with the victim and his family.

“As far as Opp Schools and our students, we are incredibly blessed,” he said. “We had a few students who required medical attention, but for the most part, we were unhurt.”

Smithart said officials will continue to monitor students involved and provide counseling services if and when needed.

“We are so thankful for our first responders for their care,” he said. “These can be chaotic, but their professionalism and expertise are greatly appreciated.”