Driver hits school bus with 12 students on board during chase in Douglas County

Credit: Henri Hollis

Credit: Henri Hollis

A driver who was involved in a pursuit with Douglas County law enforcement was arrested after striking a school bus with a dozen students on board Thursday morning, authorities said.

According to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy tried to pull over a BMW sedan at a gas station on Fairburn Road for a traffic violation around 7:20 a.m. The driver, identified as Michael Crowder of Atlanta, fled and the chase continued to West County Line Road, according to the sheriff’s office. After losing sight of the BMW, the deputy decided to patrol the Stonewood subdivision.

“Upon entering the subdivision, the deputy located the vehicle on Oakleaf Lane where it had lost control and struck a school bus,” the sheriff’s office said.

Twelve students from Lithia Springs High School and the driver were on the bus at the time of the incident. No injuries were reported. Another bus quickly arrived to take them to school, Douglas County School System spokesperson Portia Lake said.

Crowder, 31, fled into the woods as the deputy arrived at the scene, authorities said. A pistol was found in the floorboard of the BMW.

“With the knowledge that there were many students in the area waiting at bus stops, all available deputies, investigators and command staff members immediately saturated the area in an attempt to locate him,” the sheriff’s office said.

Crowder was found hiding in a shed, according to authorities. He was booked into the Douglas County Jail on charges of felony fleeing, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, hit-and-run, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, criminal damage to government property, reckless driving, use of a license plate to conceal the identity of a vehicle, and failure to stop at a stop sign.

He is also facing drug charges, according to jail records. Deputies said more charges are expected.