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Bus driver allegedly at fault in wreck

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A Gwinnett County Public Schools bus driver appeared to be at fault in a traffic accident Thursday afternoon involving two school buses and a car, officials said Friday.

According to Gwinnett County police, all three vehicles were traveling in the same direction on Ozora Road near the intersection with Tribble Mill Road when the lead bus stopped at a designated stop to let children off. Seeing the flashing red lights and extended stop arm, the car's driver, traveling behind the bus, also stopped.

The driver of the second bus, however, failed to stop and hit the car, pushing it into the back of the stopped bus, police spokesman Officer Brian Kelly said.

Kelly said the investigation is ongoing, but the driver of the second bus was cited for following too closely.

The bus driver, Wanda Byrd, has worked for the school system for 32 years and has "an excellent driver's record," GCPS spokesman Jorge Quintana said.

Byrd is still employed by the school system, pending the results of an internal investigation, but she is not driving her route, Quintana said. Such an investigation is standard procedure whenever a school bus is involved in a traffic accident.

The school system requires bus drivers to receive more than 100 hours of training each year, Quintana added.

The two buses were carrying children from Cooper Elementary School. Twelve students were evaluated at the scene for minor injury complaints and released to their parents, Quintana said. Quintana said he did not know the total number of students on each bus.

A woman in the passenger car, whose name was not released, was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville for evaluation of a minor injury, said Capt. Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department.

Staff writer Heath Hamacher contributed to this report.