Matthew Wayne Couger, 26, of Strawn, was arrested Friday by Mineral Wells police. He was the alleged hit-and-run driver who hit the rear of a school bus Friday morning. Mineral Wells Chief of Police Dean Sullivan reported that, shortly before 7:30 a.m. last Friday, a Mineral Wells ISD school bus was involved in the accident. "The accident occurred at the intersection of FM 1195 and MH 379," he noted. "The bus was struck from behind by a gray Ford three-quarter ton pickup, causing the bus to veer off the road as it turned onto MH 379. The bus driver was able to regain control and stop the bus before checking on the school children on board. The driver of the pickup involved, however, fled the scene of the accident." He added that a citizen saw what had occurred and telephoned police as the suspect vehicle was fleeing the crash. "That citizen stayed on the line with 9-1-1 and relayed valuable information regarding the suspect vehicle, where police were eventually able to catch up and stop that suspect vehicle." Sullivan continued. "The driver (suspect), a 26-year-old male, was subsequently arrested and now faces charges including fleeing the scene of an accident with injuries and possibly DWI, other than alcohol." Karyn Bullock, spokeswoman for Mineral Wells ISD, said nine children, ranging in age from 6-12, were transported to Palo Pinto General Hospital for precautionary evaluations. "All were released," she said.


"All of the injuries sustained are considered minor and they were evaluated at the hospital as a precaution," Sullivan emphasized. "There were approximately 18 to 20 people, including the driver, on board at the time of this collision. There were no serious injuries reported and no fatalities in this collision. "Personnel from the Mineral Wells ISD, Mineral Wells Fire Department and EMS, and Mineral Wells Volunteer Fire Department, in addition to police, all responded to the scene and everyone did an outstanding job in dealing with this incident," Sullivan added. "We are extremely glad everybody is fine," Bullock said. According to records from the Palo Pinto County Sheriff's Office, Couger was arrested for an "accident involving injury." Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Todd Baker set bail at $20,000. Couger was released on bond Saturday.