Local News

Investigators Still Have Unanswered Questions About Charter Bus Crash

Posted April 9, 2001 10:02 a.m. EDT

— Questions are still swirling around the bus crash on I-95 last week involving students from Fayetteville.

Bus May Have Had Brake Problems

Authorities are looking into the fact that the bus that the kids were on may have had brake problems.

Harry Harrell says bus driver Darol Britt came into his repair shop, Smith International Truck Center, last Thursday, the day before the accident.

"He came in to tell me that he needed some repairs on his bus, and he asked if we did any brake work, and I said, 'Yes, sir,'" he says. "He said that soon he was going to have to get the brakes replaced."

Britt also went to Al's Truck Service in Fayetteville. A DOT investigator was at the shop on Monday, asking for paperwork associated with Britt's visit.

Finding information about Britt has been difficult. His address is listed as Graysville Lane in Fayetteville, but a neighbor says Britt has not lived at the address for more than a year.

Britt has two car accidents on his record - one in 1986 and the other in 1996. However, there are no points on his license.

Charter Bus Company Conducts Its Own Investigation

The insurer of the charter company involved in the bus crash started its own investigation.

AMA Toursbooked two buses for the trip. Westport Insurance wants to verify when AMA's policy was written and when it took effect. The school system has a certificate which they thought covered them fully. Now, it will scruntize its charter use policy.

"As soon as we receive the report from the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, we'll take a look at that, and we'll look at what we're doing and see if any recommendations they may have for us," says Sara Piland, spokeswoman for Cumberland County Schools.

Several Cumberland County schools still have plans to use charter buses from the school system's approved list, including AMA. The company plans to hold a news conference 10 a.m. Tuesday and talk about the incident.