Hawkins County Emergency Management Agency director Gary Murrell said the four children suffered no visible injuries, but they complained of bumps and bruises and were transported to the Hawkins County Memorial hospital as a precaution.
Director of schools Steve Starnes told the Times-News all four children had been treated and released from the hospital by late afternoon.
According to a Tennessee Highway Patrol report, a 2015 Freightliner school bus driven by Patsy McAnally of Mooresburg was eastbound on Highway 11-W when it stopped around 3:55 p.m. near the Galbraith Springs Road intersection to let some children out.
An eastbound 2002 Dodge 1500 pickup driven by Gilbert Rines of Bulls Gap struck the rear corner of the stopped school bus.
There were 22 children from Mooresburg Elementary School on the bus at the time of the accident.
The school bus had its stop sign and stop lights activated with the accident occurred, according to the THP report.
Rines suffered minor injuries, and initially refused transport, although Murrell said a family member later took him to the hospital.
Rines was charged with failure to yield for a stopped school bus.
Murrell said Rines indicated he was on his way home from work in Grainger County, but there was no explanation as to why his hit the rear corner of the bus.
The passenger side of the pickup was almost completely crushed beneath the rear corner of the school bus.
“He (Rines) did say that ordinarily he would have someone in the passenger seat,” Murrell said. “It’s a good thing because we easily could have been looking at a fatality if there had been someone in the passenger seat of that pickup.”
Murrell commended the emergency personnel who responded to the scene.
“The initial call sounded pretty bad,” Murrell said. “It was one of those calls you never want to hear, but it turned out to be less serious than we initially thought, which is awesome. But, we had great response and a lot of emergency vehicles coming to this area.”
Murrell added, “Fortunately we didn’t need them, but it’s nice to know we had the cooperation and the manpower to deal with the situation if it had been a worst case scenario.”
Parents responded to the scene and took home about half the children. The other half were taken back to school, and their parents were contacted to pick them up there.
“I am very thankful that there weren't any more serious injuries and that the students are okay,” Starnes said. “I want to thank the principal and staff at Mooresburg Elementary School who responded to the scene to be with the students, and those who remained at the school in case they were needed there. The MES staff stayed at school until all students were picked up by their parents. I also want to thank the emergency responders for their efforts, as well.”