CMS school bus model involved in crash linked to recall over brakes

The CMS school bus that crashed into a townhouse on Statesville Avenue Thursday morning, sending two people to the hospital, is linked to two recalls affecting the bus' brakes, a FOX 46 investigation discovered.

Since 2017, two recalls have been issued for the same make, model and year school bus - a 2018 Thomas C2 - over issues with the mechanism that controls the bus' brakes. The most recent recall, issued last August, warned if not fixed the problem could "potentially" result in "reduced brake effectiveness which could lead to a crash." 

Another recall, issued in December 2017 warned of the same thing. 

"The accident is under investigation," said CMS spokesperson Yaviri Escalera in an email. "We will let you know if any of the recall information that...you've shared impacts this particular bus."

FOX 46 showed photos of the crash to Allen Rabb, the owner of General Parts and Repair in Charlotte. Rabb has repaired "several hundred" school buses over 30 years.

"All in all the buses are pretty safe," said Rabb. "As safe as any other vehicle on the road."

Rabb says, in his expert opinion, one of two things likely occurred, based on images from the crash site.

"Either the driver didn't hit the brakes," he said. "Or, the bus lost fluid prssure from a brake fluid leak...If the brakes were working, I don't think you'd be that deep into the building."

We don't know if the recalls affecting the brakes were fixed or if they played any factor in this crash. Rabb says this will likely be one factor investigators look at as they try to piece together what happened.

"They're hauling children," said Rabb. "So, I think they'd look at any type of safety related feature at all."