CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Tire falls off bus carrying children in Rocky Hill

Wheel falls off moving school bus
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 11:12 PM EDT|Updated: May. 4, 2023 at 10:41 AM EDT
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ROCKY HILL, CT (WFSB) - A video recorded by a Ring camera on Tuesday morning showed a tire as it fell off a school bus that carried small children.

The school bus driver was in the process of picking up students on Fawn Run in Rocky Hill when the back wheel fell off.

Home surveillance footage shows wheel fall off school bus in Rocky Hill

No one was hurt.

Eyewitness News learned what drivers must do before picking up your kids.

“Your rim it’s one piece there’s no welds,” said Denise Lyons.

Lyons is getting ready to pick up students in Enfield.

She has been driving the school bus for five years.

Before she starts the bus, she has to inspect it.

“You have children’s lives on your hands. You’re responsible for up to 70 other kids,” Lyons said.

After a wheel flew off a school bus in Rocky Hill, parents want to know drivers are thorough in their inspections.

Lyons took us through her afternoon inspection. It takes her about 10 to 15 minutes, checking everything to keep your kids safe.

The state requires drivers inspect before every trip.

“When you hear a moving school bus carrying children had a wheel just come off, what does that tell you about the wheel and pre trip inspection?” Eyewitness News asked.

“It probably wasn’t inspected very well. When you’re making sure the lug nuts are secure if they are loose you should really have them go down and tighten it,” said Lyons. “That’s really dangerous, really scary if that were to happen.”

Luckily everyone is ok. The DMV is investigating.

DMV Commissioner Tony Guerrera said the bus is brand new and the state even inspected it a few months ago.

“We’ll probably take a look at that there’s no doubt about that,” Guerrera said. “Who knows in regards to the mechanics if they pulled the wheels off to check the brakes were the lug nuts tight enough? Those are the questions that need to be asked and get the answers to.”

We’re trying to get the answers, but total silence from the bus company, New Britain Transportation.

We went to its headquarters in Berlin but were just given the phone number of the company president, who hasn’t returned our calls.

The other big question: if there was a pre-trip inspection, was a report filed?

The state requires it, saying drivers must: “list any defects or deficiencies discovered during each driver’s pre-trip and post-trip inspections.”

The incident raised concern among parents.

“It’s not every day you see a tire rolling down the street,” said William Damato, a neighbor.

Damato said he had just woken up when he noticed the back wheel of that bus roll down his road.

“Both rear tires looked like they had come off, and the school bus was sitting on its axle,” Damato said.

He also said he went up to the school bus to see if everyone was ok.

Damato said the students seemed to be pre-school-age with an adult supervisor on board.

The homeowner of the Ring video also said the bus carried pre-K students from West Hill School in Rocky Hill.

Damato said after the tire rolled off, a tow truck came for the bus. A different school bus picked up the students about 20 minutes later.

“Luckily, all the kids were ok. No ambulances came or anything like that, which is good,” Damato said.

A parent, Justin Miller, said he couldn’t imagine what he would do if his child was on that bus.

“Unbelievable. I’d be terrified if my child was on that school bus. That’s not something you’d expect from a school bus, you expect the wheels to stay on,” Miller said.

The bus company, New Britain Transportation, and The Rocky Hill School District were left several messages from Channel 3. They have yet to respond.

“I would be upset. I would definitely make my opinion heard, and let the school board know what I thought about it,” Miller said.

Wheel falls off bus carrying children in Rocky Hill
A video captured by a Ring camera Tuesday morning shows a tire falling off a school bus carrying small children.