Family mourns loss of veteran bus driver in Alabama crash

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Bus driver Harry Caligone (left) was always committed to safety, says son Harrison Guy (right), making Tuesday's deadly crash all the more confusing for his family. (KTRK)

The family of Harry Caligone is heartbroken after the bus driver was killed in a crash that injured six others Tuesday in Alabama.

Harrison Guy is known in his family as 'Little Harry.' He's the spitting image of his dad, a long-time driver with First Class Tours, the company that provided the bus to the Channelview High School band.

Guy told Eyewitness News he got the phone call he always feared Tuesday morning.

"Anytime you have someone that you love that has this type of career, where they're always on the road for extensive hours really early mornings, in the back of your head it's a big fear and you kind of think it will never happen to you," Guy said.

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Caligone drove buses for Houston Baptist University and had worked for First Class Tours since 2005.

Guy says he first learned about the crash involving Channelview High students on Facebook.

"I had no idea that the driver was my father at the time, I was just curious about the crash," Guy said.

He tried to reach Harry by phone, but couldn't get ahold of him.

"We finally saw an article that said that the person on site said that it was surely the driver did not make it," Guy said.

Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack said he wasn't immediately clear what caused the bus to enter the grassy median, which abruptly ends at a steep embankment where the interstate passes over Cowpen Creek.

Harry's wife, Alisa Louise Caligone, spoke to Eyewitness News Tuesday evening and said that she last spoke with her husband just after 1:30 a.m.

According to Alisa, Harry told her that he was driving the Channelview students from Florida to Houston and was about two hours away from the resting point.

"I heard them say that the tour bus from Houston had hit the ravine," Alisa said. "I knew it had to be him."
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Alisa says she knows her husband was focused on taking care of the kids.

"Harry's the sweetest person you would ever want to meet. He would do anything for anybody, he would give the shirt off his back. He would not put the kids in no danger, that is not him, that is not his demeanor," Alisa said.

Guy says the circumstances surrounding the crash are baffling because his father was all about safety.

"Everyone is confused right now because he is a very careful driver. He has a really good record and safety is important to him so we're just trying to figure out what happened here," Guy said.

First Class Tour Bus, the company that owns the bus, released a statement saying:
A serious accident has taken place involving a First Class Tours bus in Alabama this morning. The bus was carrying a group of band students from Channelview High School who were returning home to Houston from Orlando. Regrettably, the accident has taken the life of the driver of the bus, Harry Caligone. Harry was a long-time driver for our company and we are deeply saddened by this loss. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family. It is our understanding that there are additional injuries as a result of the accident. Our prayers are with the injured and their families at this time. We pledge our assistance in cooperating with local authorities in the investigation. Presently, this is all the information that we have to share. We will provide updates as additional information becomes available and it is appropriate to do so.

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bus crashu.s. & worldstudentsAlabama
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