Former bus driver gets 3 years in prison after fatal crash

A former school bus driver has been sentenced to three years in prison following a school bus crash that killed a 6-year-old middle Georgia girl.

A Houston County judge sentenced Shalita Harris on Monday after jurors last week convicted her of first-degree vehicular homicide and reckless driving.

Harris was driving a school bus in Warner Robins in January 2018 when she lost control of the bus entering a curve. The bus left the road and rolled over, ejecting 6-year-old Arlana Haynes. The girl died later at a Macon hospital. Five other students were hurt.

Local news media report Harris is classified as a first offender, meaning the convictions will be removed from her record if she successfully completes the prison term and seven years of probation.

“I think it’s a fair verdict,” said Houston County Chief Assistant District Attorney Erikka Williams. “I think the sentence is fair considering she had no prior criminal history.

“In vehicular homicide, no one starts out intending to take a life,” Williams said.

Jurors found Harris not guilty of speeding and another count of vehicular homicide.