Funeral held for bus driver killed in Fairfield Co. school bus accident - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Funeral held for bus driver killed in Fairfield Co. school bus accident

Sophia Woodard Sophia Woodard

(Fairfield County) Oct. 12, 2004 - The Fairfield County bus driver killed in a fatal school bus wreck on October 7th was laid to rest on Tuesday.

Sophia Dante Woodard, 34, was killed Thursday when the South Carolina Highway Patrol says a truck collided with the bus she was driving.

Authorities say the driver of the truck, Tommy Fowlar, 35, of Gaffney ran a stop sign at the intersection of state Highways 215 and 34/Salem Crossroads.

The wreck sent more than 40 kindergartners through sixth graders from McCorey-Liston Elementary School to area hospitals. A spokesman with Palmetto Richland Hospital says one child remains in the hospital in fair condition.

Woodard's funeral was held Tuesday afternoon at Gethsemane Baptist Church in Fairfield County. Woodard's sister, Raquel Charles, says, "She's a real nice person. She was a good mother, and every time you seen her she had a smile on her face." Raquel says her sister was a bus driver for five years and a mother of three young children.

The Patrol has not pressed charges and say they are still investigating and are in consultation with the solicitor's office. Fowlar was airlifted to Palmetto Richland Memorial with severe head injuries. He has since been released from the hospital.

This is the first time in eight years someone has died on a South Carolina bus. The State Department of Education says only six people have died in bus accidents in the entire history of the Palmetto State bus program.

335,000 kids ride South Carolina buses each day.

Updated 5:14pm by BrettWitt

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