2 hurt, car smashed after wheel comes loose from CMS bus

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools bus crashed on Eastway Drive Tuesday morning after its wheel rolled off.

The incident happened just after 7 a.m. when the left rear wheel came loose and smashed into the front of a red car.

The inbound lanes of Eastway Drive were shut down as police investigated and crews worked to tow the bus away.

CMS officials said the bus, which was headed to Garinger High School, was carrying 26 students. Paramedics told Channel 9 that two students complained of minor injuries and were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

It is still unclear how the tire fell off the bus.

An inspection report showed that the bus had been checked on Aug. 17 and the tires were fine.

A longtime bus driver, who was not connected to the incident and did not want to be identified, told Channel 9 that drivers are supposed to do a safety check before they get behind the wheel.

"We're supposed to check the lug nuts to make sure they're affixed to the wheels," the bus driver said.

"So every day, you're supposed to check the tire, and check the lug nuts like this, twice a day, to make sure they're on. Do we know if that happened this morning?" reporter Mark Becker asked.

"No," the bus driver said.

This comes several months after Channel 9 reported on a growing problem with defects on CMS buses. In June, Eyewitness News reported that random inspections of the buses found some with serious safety issues, including brake problems.

At the time, a school board member said they have trouble keeping mechanics who were leaving the school system for higher paying jobs.

But the bus driver who spoke to Channel 9 said Tuesday's accident is just one of many problems already just two days into the school year.

"The second day of school, there have been multiple buses breaking down. The first day of school, multiple buses breaking down," the bus driver said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools released a statement saying, "CMS is investigating the incident as well as the maintenance record for the bus.  The safety of all students and staff is top priority for the district as we drive students to and from school each day."

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