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One dead in Lowndes school bus crash, students taken to hospital

The car ran into the rear of the school bus near Delmar Road, and Lowndes Co. Coroner Austin Fiveash said that the victim was in the car, not the school bus. (Photo via viewer Kenneth White)
The car ran into the rear of the school bus near Delmar Road, and Lowndes Co. Coroner Austin Fiveash said that the victim was in the car, not the school bus. (Photo via viewer Kenneth White)(WCTV)
Published: Nov. 22, 2019 at 9:43 AM EST
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Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News

November 22, 2019

LOWNDES COUNTY, Ga. (WCTV) -- Georgia State Patrol responded to a tragic scene Friday when a woman was killed after colliding with a Lowndes County school bus.

The accident happened shortly before 7:00 Friday morning on Highway 84, between Naylor and Valdosta. Georgia State Patrol said the school bus was stopped on Highway 84 with its red lights flashing and stop sign extended when Christina Gurka, of Lakeland, rear ended the bus.

Authorities said thirteen elementary aged students were on the bus at the time of the accident. All of the students were taken to South Georgia Medical Center for evaluation, some having complained of minor injuries.

Responders said they don't believe Gurka saw the stopped bus.

Conditions were foggy Friday morning at the time of the accident. Law enforcement officials are now urging drivers to always be extra cautious on the roads, and to know the rules of driving around buses, especially at peak times when they are out on the roads.

"I believe it was foggy out this morning, we try to tell people to slow down in conditions that are not favorable, whether it's rain, snow, fog. Just for those purposes of, you never know what may be in front of you," said Sergeant Josh Taylor. "Be aware of the school buses that are on the highway and the kids that are approaching those school buses. Know the laws on school bus safety and when to stop for them. Be sure you're aware of where you're at and the times that you're traveling in those areas."

Authorities said it is protocol to have all children evaluated in a situation like this, but don't believe any of the students to have suffered serious injury.

GSP officials said Gurka was traveling with a one year old child at the time of the crash, but that child was not injured.

The accident is still under investigation by the Georgia State Patrol.


November 22, 2019

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) — The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office confirms that a person was killed Friday morning when a car collided with a school bus.

It happened about 6:30 a.m. on a fog-shrouded US Highway 84 Westbound, between Naylor and Valdosta.

The SUV ran into the rear of the school bus near Delmar Road, and Lowndes Co. Coroner Austin Fiveash said that the victim was in the car, not the school bus. The Georgia State Patrol identified Christina Gurka of Lakeland, Georgia as the victim of the crash. She was driving the SUV, and a one-year-old child in the backseat was not injured in the crash.

GSP says 13 students were on the bus, and several of them said they were hurt. Lowndes County Schools says the kids on board appeared to be OK and medical personnel on scene checked them.

GSP also says all the kids on the bus were taken to the South Georgia Medical Center for treatment.

Lowndes County Schools says the parents of those students have been contacted.

"As always, the safety of our students and staff is our top priority," an LCS spokesperson said.

GSP says the crash is under investigation.

Copyright 2019 WALB. All rights reserved.

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