Bus carrying Georgia college team overturns in Virginia; driver arrested

- The man one Georgia sports team trusted to get them to the game safely was arrested after crashing the team’s bus Friday morning, according to Virginia State Police.

Willie F. Walker, 59, of Carrollton, was arrested and charged with driving while under the influence of drugs and possession of marijuana following an early morning crash. It happened around 8:15 a.m. along Interstate 81 near mile marker 104 in Pulaski County as the West Georgia Technical College Golden Knights women’s basketball team was headed to compete in the NJCAA Division III District Championship in Rockville, Maryland.

According to Virginia State Patrol, the bus drifted into the right lane, side-swiping a tractor trailer, and then went off the left side of the road, overcorrected back into traffic and then ran off the road a second time, striking an embankment and overturning.

The college said all 13 passengers suffered non-life-threatening injuries. They were taken to a nearby hospital, where they were treated and released.

“The West Georgia Tech family is terribly upset today that our women’s basketball team has been affected by this accident,” Acting President Dr. Scott Rule was quoted as saying in a release to FOX 5 News. “Our first priority is to ensure all our players receive the care they need and are returned safely home."

The Golden Knights were hot off their fifth consecutive Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association Women’s Division III Basketball Championship February 25 allowing them to advance to the Maryland tournament. Unfortunately, because of the crash, the college said they were forced to pull out of the competition. School officials were working late Friday afternoon to arrange transportation for the players back to Georgia.

The Virginia State Patrol said they are still investigating the accident and believe fatigue may have also been a factor in the crash. The college said they fully cooperating in the investigation.

Walker was booked into the New River Valley Regional Jail. He was released on Saturday after posting a $1,000 bond.

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