CMS investigates why wheel flew off school bus with students on board

CMS investigates why wheel flew off school bus with students on board

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) District says loose lug nuts on bus #1553 led to a wheel falling off while students were on board. The bus was headed to Garinger High School around 7 a.m. Tuesday when the rear wheel flew off.

The incident happened at Eastway Drive and Hilliard Drive. The tire landed in the street before hitting a car. The driver of the car says it looked like the wheel wasn't secure.

CMS is responding to the incident.

"CMS is investigating the incident as well as the maintenance record for the bus," CMS Media Specialist Vicki Grooms said early Tuesday. "The safety of all students and staff is top priority for the district as we drive students to and from school each day."

CMS sent the maintenance report for bus #1553. It was last checked on August 17, and it passed. The report states the tires were checked but there is no mention of the materials to keep the wheels secure.

"They need to check that stuff," Garinger parent Marica Jackson said. "Somebody needs to answer for that."

Jackson's daughter sometimes catches a CMS bus to school in the mornings. The mother says if that happened on bus #1553, then it could have happened on any bus.

"I have bad nerves," Jackson said. "That would have shook me if I would have gotten a call."

WBTV has looked into problems with the district's buses. Problems include not enough mechanics to inspect buses to keep students safe. A recent inspection showed 95 CMS buses were looked at and 24 were taken off the road.

More than half of the school buses taken off the road had problems with brakes, tires, or the suspension. Several buses had a cracked frame or loose bolts.

CMS says the accident on Tuesday caused one student to go to the hospital to be checked out. The driver of the car also went to the hospital. She says she suffered bruises.

CMS sent a follow-up statement Tuesday evening about the results of their investigation:

Following a thorough review by CMS transportation leadership, it has been determined that the lug nuts on the rear tires on school bus #1553 were not secured properly following a  brake replacement. After the brake replacement work was complete, the lug nuts were not tightened to standard using a torque wrench. The torque wrench is a specific tool used to tighten bolts, nuts and fasteners which have a specific value to ensure optimum performance. The failure to adequately torque the lug nuts resulted in the rear wheels separating from the vehicle during transport.

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