St. Clair County Coroner Dennis Russell identified the victim as Ashley Cartier, 17, of Ashville.
Russell pronounced Cartier dead at 8:09 a.m. The cause of death was blunt force trauma.
Russell said she was taken by RPS Ambulance Service to the St. Clair County Coroner’s Office in Pell City.
Ashville Police Chief Dennis Matthews said they received the call at 6:54 a.m.
“The accident happened at 7964 Alabama 23,” Matthews said. “She was driving a 2001 KIA Sephia. She was the only person in the car.
"The school bus had stopped to load. She failed to stop and hit the bus from behind. There were no students on the school bus.”
Matthews said all the emergency equipment on the school bus was working.
“This accident is still under investigation,” Matthews said.
Also responding to the accident included the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, Regional Paramedical Services, Inc. Ambulance, Cool Springs Fire Department and Ashville Fire and Rescue.
Ashville Mayor Robert McKay said the crash is one of the more common accidents involving teenagers.
“It is really tragic that this happened,” McKay said. “I am a school bus driver, and this absolutely breaks my heart.”
Cartier was a senior at AHS, a member of the band and part of the dance line. Kim Moss has a son and daughter who attended Ashville High School with her.
“This is so very sad for everyone involved, especially her parents and family,” Moss said. “It is also sad for her classmates and friends.”
St. Clair Schools Superintendent Jenny Seals said this is one of the hardest things she has had to go through as superintendent.
“There are so many emotions today at Ashville High School,” Seals said. “Counselors from our schools were there at the high school, as were local pastors and youth ministers. We also had staff members from the central office on hand.”
Seals said AHS principal Patti Johnson brought in all the teachers to the gym this morning to tell them before bringing in all the students for an assembly.
“Ashville is a close-knit community,” Seals said. “We are supporting our students. They opened up the library and other rooms in the school for students to go if they wanted to talk about it, write about it or write letters to Ashley’s mother.
"It’s just a time for our students to grieve. Our thoughts and prayers are with this family.”