WTOC Investigates: Bus involved in Liberty Co. crash needed service after first inspection in January

LIBERTY CO., GA (WTOC) - WTOC is learning more about the bus involved in a deadly crash that killed a 5-year-old girl earlier this month in Liberty County.

School buses in the Liberty County School System are required to have a safety check every 20 days. This new bus had an issue in January with its very first safety inspection.

Bus 1729 was involved in the horrific crash that killed 5-year-old Cambria Shuman and sent more than 20 other students to the hospital in early December.

The brand new bus had a service request in January stating the, "left driver's side sounds like two pieces of metal clanging." According to the inspection, it was fixed by securing the battery door with foam and replacing the parking brake knob.

All other bus inspections were normal with minor work like an oil change and topping off fluids.

The next bus inspection should have been on Dec. 5, the morning of the deadly crash.

When WTOC spoke with GSP the day of the crash, they said the video from inside the school bus clearly shows the bus driver, Evelyn Rodriguez, struggling with the gear shift before going into a ditch and crashing into a tree.

Georgia State Patrol confirmed Rodriguez was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol or distracted at the time of the crash.

School officials say they are still looking into the exact cause of the crash and are working with local law enforcement.

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