Thirteen students and their bus driver were transported to area hospitals after the bus crash on Icard Ridge Rd near West Alexander Middle School Monday morning. North Carolina Highway Patrol Troopers say a Toyota passenger car, being driven by 56-year-old Kimberly Ann Austin, crossed the center line and struck the bus.
Of the thirteen injured on the bus, troopers say 12 were categorized as minor injuries and one was listed in critical condition, now upgraded to stable.
Austin was taken to Frye Regional Medical Center and later charged with driving while impaired and driving left of the center line. Today, the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office charged Austin with two counts of misdemeanor child abuse – one for a student she had dropped off at the school and one involving her granddaughter who was in the car with her at the time of the crash. Austin’s bond was set at $10,000.
Troopers said Austin’s mannerisms and speech led them to believe she was impaired. A blood alcohol test was administered but no results are back yet. She checked herself out of the hospital Monday afternoon.