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Coroner: ‘No drugs or alcohol’ caused fatal school bus crash

Muscogee County School District bus driver Roy Newman died in this Aug. 22 single-vehicle crash, and all seven student passengers from Mathews Elementary School were hospitalized. Six were treated and released. The seventh was airlifted to an Atlanta hospital.
Muscogee County School District bus driver Roy Newman died in this Aug. 22 single-vehicle crash, and all seven student passengers from Mathews Elementary School were hospitalized. Six were treated and released. The seventh was airlifted to an Atlanta hospital. photo@ledger-enquirer.com

Muscogee County School District bus driver Roy Newman wasn’t impaired by alcohol or any other dangerous substances when he died in the Aug. 22 single-vehicle crash that hospitalized all seven of the student passengers, the county’s coroner said Monday.

According to the blood-alcohol content and toxicology reports, Newman, 67, had “no drugs or alcohol in his system whatsoever,” Muscogee County coroner Buddy Bryan told the Ledger-Enquirer in a phone interview.

The cause of death — blunt-force trauma to the head, torso and extremities — was released two days after the accident, but the autopsy isn’t complete 2½ months later, Bryan said, because the state medical examiner’s office hasn’t finished its report. The school district also hasn’t released any reports from its investigation, so the cause of the crash remains unclear. Eyewitnesses told the Ledger-Enquirer that Newman was driving erratically that morning.

Six of the Mathews Elementary School students were treated for undisclosed injuries and released from Midtown Medical Center. The seventh student, also of Mathews, was airlifted to an Atlanta hospital. Her condition hasn’t been available.

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