UNION COUNTY, N.C. - A beloved school bus driver known for his smile and kind heart was killed in a crash in Union County Monday and families who waved to him from the bus stop, students on his route and the community are grieving his death.
IMAGES: Scene of fatal crash involving school bus, garbage truck
Troopers said a garbage truck driven by 38-year-old Joshua Teague of Charlotte crossed the center line rounding a curve and slammed head-on into the school bus. No students were on board at the time.
"My house is probably 200 yards away and I heard a tremendous bang," said Mike Como, who lives in a nearby development.
Troopers said the bus driver, 53-year-old Tim McManus, was ejected and killed. He was wearing a seat belt, according to law enforcement.
CHOPPER 9 VIDEO: Bus driver killed in Union Co. crash
Teague was taken to Carolinas Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. A representative for the company he worked for, Mercados Construction Clean Up, said they were upset but did not want to comment on camera.
The Highway Patrol said they have cited Teague with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. Teague will face a Union County judge in January after he was cited Monday night. He is scheduled to appear before a judge on Jan. 27.
Troopers said Teague was reaching for something on the floor, became distracted and crashed head-on into the school bus.
School officials told Eyewitness News that McManus had worked with Union County Public Schools for three years.
Funeral services for McManus will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Matthews Church of God at 517 E. John Street in Matthews.
McManus' next door neighbor told Channel 9 he's still trying to process suddenly losing his friend. He said McManus was one of the most giving people he knew.
"This is still a nightmare. Tim was an awesome friend, an awesome person. He'd do anything for anyone. He was so loved by everybody," said Lionel Deliz.
"You don't find many bus drivers like him," said Celeste Bailey, whose daughter Madison Bailey rode on McManus' bus.
Madison was hit by a car while crossing the street in March. Bailey said McManus would drive by their home every day waiting until they got home from the hospital. The night they returned he stopped by the house.
"He came by to see us that evening and brought her a whole big bucket of lollipops because it was her favorite thing," said Bailey. "She missed a month of school and he would honk the horn every single morning just to make sure she knew he was saying hello to her."
Grief counselors were on hand Tuesday for colleagues of McManus as well as students.
Union County Public Schools released a statement that said, "It is a very sad day in Union County Public Schools. We have lost one of our own. UCPS sends its condolences to Mr. McManus' family and we will join them in celebrating his life and honoring the great work he did for the students in our system."
"Shock is an understatement. The way it happened, it's just not fair," said Lionel Deliz, who lives next door to McManus.
Deliz said McManus, who is survived by three daughters and two grandchildren, was known around the neighborhood as someone who would help anyone during a time of need.
"I was fortunate to live next to him. I was fortunate to know him, I was blessed to know him," Deliz said.
Teague was released from the hospital with minor injuries, but no one was at his Huntersville home when Channel 9 went there Tuesday.
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