Truck driver in crash with school bus helps free trapped students before he collapses

The 25-year-old driver of the rental truck died of his injuries at a hospital.

Damage is seen on a school bus following a crash in Bacon County, Ga., on Aug. 12, 2020. (Courtesy: WSAV) (Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

BACON COUNTY, Ga. – A man driving a rental truck that collided with a school bus in Georgia helped free trapped students before he collapsed and died.

Johnathon Grayer, 25, of Jacksonville, Florida, was driving a rental truck on Wednesday afternoon when it collided with the back of a school bus that had stopped for students to get off, according to a preliminary investigation by the Georgia State Patrol.

Ten students were on the bus at the time of the crash, authorities said.

Both Grayer and the bus driver helped children get out of the bus after the crash, Georgia State Trooper Shane Copeland told WSAV, NBC's affiliate in Savannah. He said footage from the bus surveillance camera showed Grayer lifting seats to release children trapped underneath.

Grayer then collapsed and was taken to a hospital where he later died of his injuries.

“We’ve had other accidents and tragedies and things like that in the past, but this one… had you shaken the most out of all of them,” Tyler Beach, a Bacon County fire and EMS compliance officer, told WSAV.

All 10 children suffered non-life threatening injuries, with six taken to nearby hospitals with cuts and broken bones. The bus driver, Jerry Sweat, was also injured and taken to a hospital, WSAV reported.

Gov. Brian Kemp responded to the “terrible news,” in a tweet, saying he was sending prayers to “the family and loved ones of the truck driver who lost their life and the students who are injured.”

About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.