Mother of school bus wreck victim ‘at peace’ with enactment of new law

From the News Sentinel:
The school bus crash that took three lives in Knoxville helped bring a new law banning use of electronic devices by school bus drivers.

“It makes me feel … at peace,” said Sharon Glasper of the new law. Her 7-year-old daughter, Seraya, died in the Dec. 2, 2014 Knox County Schools bus crash that killed another student and a teacher’s assistant.

Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law Thursday the bill that increases the fine 20-fold and added jail time for texting while driving a school bus with students on board.

“Texting and driving is a very serious matter,” Glasper said Friday.

James Davenport, 48, of Mascot, was hauling 22 children on a bus from Chilhowee Intermediate School on that day in 2014 that Seraya died. Knoxville police said Davenport, who has since died, was texting while driving.

Davenport’s bus 44 veered across multiple lanes of traffic and slammed into bus 57 that carried 18 Sunnyview Primary School students and a teacher’s aide. The impact ripped open the front of Davenport’s bus and toppled bus 57 onto its side.

Zykia Burns, 6, and teacher’s aide Kimberly Riddle, 46, also died in the crash.

“We put our kids in other people’s hands, riding the school bus,” Glasper said. “You wouldn’t ever imagine that your kid won’t come back.”

Note: The bill is SB1596, sponsored by Sen. Becky Massey and Rep. Eddie Smith, both Knoxville Republicans.