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Critically injured student released

By Preston Ayres, payres@wcyb.com
Published On: Sep 26 2012 05:24:53 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 27 2012 02:03:21 PM CDT

Many people considered Cheyenne Bunton the most critically injured student in last week's school bus crash.

JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. -

Many people considered Cheyenne Bunton the most critically injured student in last week's school bus crash.

Cheyenne Bunton won't be going back to school this year.

The David Crockett High School junior faces at least another four months of recovery from last week’s school bus crash.

“[Doctors] said absolutely no going back to school, no steps [this year],” says her father Charles Bunton, “everything she does she has to look up, she can't look down at it."

Just hours after being released from the hospital and barely able to speak, Cheyenne told us what little she remembers about the crash that peeled off much of her scalp.

"I was in the second seat on the left side behind the driver," described Cheyenne Bunton.

She knows she was flown to the hospital, but doesn't remember much more.

Cheyenne still has several staples and stitches in her head plus her back and neck are fractured.

"I want her to get back mentally as well as physically," said Charles Bunton.

A doctor's visit Thursday will help determine if she needs another surgery, if she does Cheyenne could be facing lifelong challenges. "If she does,” describes Charles Bunton “she will lose 50 percent mobility in her neck."

The school bus she was riding last Thursday was not equipped with seat belts.

This 16-year-old believes the safety devices could have made a difference for her and the other students on board bus 88. "Most people don't think they should wear seat belts,” said Cheyenne Bunton, “but they really should. If they don't think so look at what happened to us."

Her family is starting a campaign to convince the school board to install seat belts on its school buses."We are going to try to push seat belts for these kids,” says Charles Bunton. “Their safety is more important than anything else."

Cheyenne told us the support from her friends and the community has been tremendous.

Even though she can't go back to class, she is hoping to at least visit the school next week.

As for the investigation, school officials and prosecutors are still waiting on the final report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol.