GSP Team Reconstructing Fatal Accident, But Says Bus Driver had Green Light

The Georgia State Patrol’s Specialized Reconstruction Team is now looking further into Tuesday’s tragic school bus accident. Linda Diane Hulgan, 71, was killed in that accident when an empty Dade County school bus driven by Angela Payne, 61, struck her as she attempted to cross Highway 136 West on foot at its intersection with Highway 11 in front of CVS.

(Photo from Ms. Hulgan's obituary, supplied by Ryan Funeral Home)

GSP had stated in its initial accident report on Thursday that the bus had turned left onto 136 West from Highway 11 on a flashing yellow turn signal. The Planet asked for clarification: Did that mean the driver was turning left on a red light, with a flashing yellow “permissive left” turn arrow?

“No, the light was green with a flashing yellow arrow, and driver had to yield to traffic traveling straight through southbound on US 11/GA 58 before attempting to turn left onto GA 136 westbound,” replied GSP’s Andrew Gideon, by email. “Signal was red for traffic on GA 136 eastbound.”

Which seemed to clear up any question of an improper left turn, but Gideon would not, upon The Planet’s further request, confirm that the driver would not be charged. He would only say:

“Since the Specialized Reconstruction Team has opened an investigation, and

are examining aspects of the crash, all charges, if any, and specific contributing actions are pending upon the completion of their analysis.”

The Planet will duly pass on the team’s conclusions as they become available.

Meanwhile, a memorial service for Ms. Hulgan will be held at 11 a.m. next Wednesday, Feb. 28, at Lookout Valley Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, according to an obituary issued by Ryan Funeral Home, Trenton.

For the full obit, please see the obituary list on The Planet’s home page, or click “Obits” in the navigator bar above.

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