By CLINT FOSTER
No students were injured and a local man is behind bars after a hit-and-run accident involving a school bus on Friday morning.
According to Mineral Wells ISD Public Relations Coordinator Karyn Bullock, MWISD bus No. 32 was carrying 15 students, between the ages of seven and 12, when it was rear-ended by the driver of a pickup truck at a stop sign on the corner of Farm-to-Market Road 1195 and MH 379, shortly before 7:30 a.m.
Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan told the Index the “significant force” of the impact caused the bus driver to veer into the bar ditch on the side of the road before she was able to recover, pull the bus over and check on her students.
Sullivan said nine students were transported to Palo Pinto General Hospital as a precaution and were released later that morning.
He added the bus sustained minimal damaged and no one in the bus was seriously injured.
“I think one child had a small laceration over her eye from the window sill, but nothing serious, thank goodness,” he said.
After hitting the school bus, the pickup driver, later identified as 26-year-old Matthew W. Cougar of Santo, fled the scene.
Sullivan said a concerned citizen followed Cougar and called 911 to alert police.
The citizen continued to tail Cougar through the Fort Wolters Industrial Complex before police caught up with them on Garrett Morris Parkway near Walmart.
When officers stopped Cougar, Sullivan said they found the front end of his truck was completely smashed from the wreck with the bus. Sullvian added some officers were “shocked the truck was able to continue as long as it did."
Cougar was arrested and taken to Palo Pinto County Jail where he is expected to be charged with felony accident involving injury.