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Broken bolt blamed for rear axle falling off school bus | News

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Broken bolt blamed for rear axle falling off school bus

(WBIR - MARYVILLE) A bizarre incident created quite a scene during Wednesday's afternoon commute at Maryville High School. A rear axle fell off a school bus as it was pulling away from the school. 

The Tennessee Highway Patrol inspects school buses at least once a year. Records show the school bus is 15 years old
 and state law requires it to be inspected biannually. It was inspected in April and October, passing both times.

Authorities said the axle fell off because of a single bolt. The "ti bolt" connects the vehicles springs, and it was broken. Sgt. Randall Martin with THP told 10News that break started a chain reaction that led to the axle falling off.

THP inspections on buses have limits.

"Their job is to go in and look at pieces and make sure they're in tact. They don't go through and take things apart. They don't take a hose out to make sure it has air. They don't pull wires out to make sure it has electrical current," Sgt. Martin said.

He said the bolt that was broken could not be seen during a routine inspection.

"If you needed to see that bolt, you'd have to take the whole rear end of the bus off," bus owner Brad Long said.

This problem is rare, and is difficult to solve.

"It's hard to put your finger on, or specifically say, this is what we need to do so this doesn't happen again," Martin noted.

He believes the solution starts with a good maintenance program and with mechanics who check for potential problems that troopers can't.

"Kids safety is our priority. We want to make sure kids are safe and we want to make sure parents know that," Long said.

Long said he brought in several other buses to be inspected for similar problems.


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