School district suspends bus driver

By Charles Warner cwarner@civitasmedia.com

March 14, 2014

UNION COUNTY — A bus driver has been suspended from his duties by the Union County School District after being involved in and charged with two traffic accidents in a single day.

In a statement released this afternoon, Jeff Stribble, Director of Personnel and Student Services, announced that Ronald E. Holden had been suspended as a school bus driver pending an investigation by the school district.

Stribble said Holden was placed on suspension after the second of two accidents that occurred while he was driving a school bus.

The first accident occurred Thursday morning around 7:25 a.m. on Whitlock Lake Road near Morristown Farm Road approximately 1.3 miles west of Jonesville.

According to the S.C. Highway Patrol, Holden was at the wheel of a 1988 International School Bus traveling south on Whitlock Lake Road when it ran off the side of the road and struck a tree.

Holden, 61, of Union, was charged by the SCHP with driving too fast for conditions.

Less than 12 hours later, Holden was involved in another accident while driving a bus, this time in the Union area.

L/Cpl Gary Miller of the SCHP said that the accident occurred around 4:45 p.m. on S.C. 215 near Industrial Park Road.

Miller said that Holden was at the wheel of a 1988 International School Bus which was traveling north on S.C. 215.

Also traveling north on S.C. 215 was a 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser Miller said was driven by Bobbie Butts, 50, also of Union.

Miller said that Butts slowed for traffic and her car was struck in the rear by the bus driven by Holden. He said she was transported by EMS to Wallace Thomson Hospital.

While Holden was not injured, Miller said he was charged with driving too fast for conditions.

In the first accident, Holden’s bus was full of students on their way to school.

Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall said Thursday that all of the students were offered medical treatment at Wallace Thomson Hospital. Woodall said six students were transported to the hospital by ambulance while another 16 were transported in another school bus. She said none of the injuries were life-threatening.

The bus in the second accident was empty except for Holden who Stribble said was finishing up a route.

Stribble that standard procedure is for a bus driver involved in an accident to be drug tested afterwards. He said that Holden was drug tested after both accidents, with the district receiving the results from the first test by midday Thursday. Stribble would not, however, reveal the results of the drug tests because they involve a personnel matter. He did say that Holden would remain on suspension pending the outcome of the investigation.