Footage of Ally Rednour’s heartbreaking accident has just been released, which shows the then 6-year-old girl being dragged more than 1,000 feet by a Kentucky school bus. The video surfaced six years after the incident, which occurred on May 15, 2015, as a 2018 civil trial against the bus driver finally commenced.
Ally Rednour was a first grader at Wilkerson Elementary School at the time of the accident and was attempting to depart the Jefferson County Public School bus when her arm got stuck and the door closed on her backpack. Trapped, Rednour was dragged 1,147 feet by the yellow school bus, suffering long-lasting injuries to her legs.
Melinda Sanders, the bus driver, is being sued for unspecified damages by the girl’s mother. Sanders took the witness stand during the civil trial this week, at the same time the dramatic footage was released. WAVE3 obtained the video of the heartbreaking accident and it is expected to be played during the trial.
In the footage, the defendant can be seen in the driver’s seat, screaming at children as Ally Rednour attempts to exit the vehicle. Melinda Sanders failed to notice the adorable girl whose backpack was stuck, and Sanders drove off while Rednour was still attached to the door.
The video shows the horrifying moment the bus driver closed the door too early, the twin doors slamming into the girl’s right arm as she hops down the final step. The girl, seemingly hurt by the short encounter, then turns around to call to the driver, who is focusing on the children at the back of the bus. The heavy doors then lock on Ally Rednour’s backpack, pressing on the bag’s face as the bus starts to move again.
The video shows the 6-year-old girl trying desperately to run alongside the bus as it accelerates down the road, her hands pressed against the glass. Rednour doesn’t run for long before her body collapses onto the road, the bus speeding down the street with the girl dragged alongside it.
The girl, still trapped by her backpack, was reportedly dragged more than 1,000 feet by the school bus before the driver was alerted of the little girl by a honking driver and stopped the vehicle. In the video, Melinda Sanders turns to the door as she stops the bus. She shouts, “oh my god!” before rushing to Rednour’s aid.
The first grader was taken to the hospital where doctors said she suffered severe abrasions to 12 percent of her body (mostly on her two legs). Ally Rednour was forced to undergo several surgeries in the years since. Melinda Sanders was fired one month after the incident, but Rednour’s mother filed the civil lawsuit in 2018.
According to Rednour’s attorneys, Melinda Sanders broke 16 rules of her employment as a bus driver, which included ensuring that children get on and off the bus safely. The bus driver, who failed to watch Ally Rednour fully exit the vehicle, also allegedly ran a stop sign during the incident, and was documented in the video allowing another student to stand while the bus was in motion.
The bus driver testified as a witness on Tuesday, explaining to the court that she regrets what happened. Sanders was asked what the “moment of truth” of “loading and unloading” children to the bus meant to her, to which she replied that “it means a lot to me, and I wish, Mr. Paulus, that I had followed that, that day.” Sanders admitted that though she wishes she could, she “can’t take that day back.”
Others were called to testify during the proceedings, including former and current employees with the district’s Department of Transportation, many of whom confirmed that Sanders broke protocol that tragic day. One piece of testimony was given by JCPS school bus driver and trainer, Katrina Ferral, who said the incident was “horrible” and explained that bus drivers are required to make sure kids are 10 feet from the bus before driving away.
Explaining what a bus driver is supposed to do, Ferral said that “you watch them get off the bus, you close the door. When they’re away from the bus, close the door, you look in that mirror and you watch them. They have to be 10 feet away before you pull off.”
Ally Rednour was 6-years-old when she suffered massive skin loss on both legs, which her plastic surgeon, Dr. Sheldon Bond confirmed to the court. “We had some skin loss here and some skin loss there,” he said, pointing to each leg. “This was a very big abrasion which was scrubbed.”
According to Rednour’s family, the adorable girl, who is now 12, suffered severe nerve damage and PTSD from the incident. Ally Rednour also had to endure multiple surgeries, which the family claims had a toll on her psyche.