Dozens Injured, Two Dead In Fiery Missouri School Bus Crash

Crash involved two school buses and a tractor-trailer

 

 
 
 

| Thursday, August 5, 2010

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Missouri School Bus Crash

Two dead, dozens injured.
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Updated 5:03 p.m. EST

GRAY SUMMIT, Mo. - Two buses carrying high school band students to an amusement park Thursday slammed into a freeway wreck that happened right in front of them, crushing a pickup truck and killing its driver and one of the students. Dozens of other students were treated for injuries.

The wreck near Gray Summit, about 40 miles west of St. Louis, happened when the pickup truck rear-ended a semi cab that had slowed down because it was nearing a construction zone, state police said. The first bus, which was carrying female band members from John F. Hodge High in St. James, slammed into the back of the pickup, then was launched on top of it after it was rear-ended by the second bus, State Highway Patrol Cpl. Jeff Wilson said.

At least 42 students were taken to hospitals, most with injuries not considered life-threatening.

The students were on their way to a Six Flags amusement park some 10 miles from the crash site.

"My goodness. You send your children off to Six Flags, you don't expect this to happen," Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Dan Crain said. "Being parents, we cannot imagine how difficult this is."

Joy Tucker, the superintendent of the St. James school system, said the 3,700-resident town - known for its wineries, natural splendor and trout fishing in nearby Maramec Spring Park - was devastated.

"It's been a horrible, horrible day in our community, and we'll never get over this," Tucker said.

"Anytime you have something like this, it is big tragedy for a community," echoed Dennis Wilson, the mayor of St. James. He described the community as "one of those towns where you know just about everyone in town and know their kids," including the nearly 600 children who attend Hodge high school.

Ashley Wiehle, a spokeswoman for SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis, said 36 children were taken to that hospital, and that each appeared to be in good condition. They were to be examined as a precaution, Wiehle said.

Bethany Pope, a spokeswoman for St. Johns's Mercy Medical Center in suburban St. Louis, said six victims were sent there. One of them was later transferred to St. Louis Children's Hospital; the other five were being discharged Thursday afternoon.

Jackie Ferman, a spokeswoman for the Children's Hospital, said an injured 16-year-old St. James girl was in stable condition and was still being assessed by hospital staff.

Four other victims were taken with minor injuries to St. Clare Health Center in Fenton, Mo., a spokeswoman said.

Highway Patrol Cpl. Jeff Wilson said the driver of the first bus moved into the passing lane to give a distressed vehicle in the shoulder more room. She was checking her rearview mirror while returning to the right-hand lane when she noticed the first impact but could not stop in time, hitting the pickup. The second bus then rear-ended the first, vaulting the first bus onto the top of the pickup, which was crushed.

The buses were segregated by gender, with girls in the first and boys on the other, Wilson said.

The pickup was barely recognizable in the tangled wreckage. Hours later, crews using a crane gently lifted the buses off of the crushed wreckage to try to clear the freeway, which was closed going eastbound. Traffic backed up in that direction for as much as 10 miles.

Wilson said it was too soon to say if any of the drivers would face charges.

A spokeswoman for the National Transportation Safety Board said a team of 14 investigators will look into the accident and try to determine if there's a broader safety issue.

___

Associated Press writers Jim Suhr and Christopher Leonard in St. Louis, Chris Blank in Jefferson City, and Heather Hollingsworth and Bill Draper in Kansas City contributed to this report.



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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Fatalities in Missouri Bus Crash



Two Killed, 50 Hurt in Missouri Crash



Several Students Injured in Missouri Bus Crash

 

Missouri School Bus Crash

Gallery 1

Missouri School Bus Crash

This image made from video provided by KTVI shows responders at the scene of an accident Thursday Aug. 5, 2010 on eastbound Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Mo. The school buses were carrying children from the St. James School District. Details about the injuries were not immediately known. (AP Photo/KTVI)


Gallery 1

Missouri School Bus Crash

This image made from video provided by KTVI shows the scene of an accident Thursday Aug. 5, 2010 on eastbound Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Mo. The school buses were carrying children from the St. James School District. Details about the injuries were not immediately known. (AP Photo/KTVI)


Gallery 1

Missouri School Bus Crash

This image made from video provided by KTVI shows responders at the scene of an accident Thursday Aug. 5, 2010 on eastbound Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Mo. The buses were carrying children from the St. James School District. Details about the injuries were not immediately known. (AP Photo/KTVI)


Gallery 1

Missouri School Bus Crash

This image made from video provided by KTVI shows the scene of an accident Thursday Aug. 5, 2010 on eastbound Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Mo. The buses were carrying children from the St. James School District. Details about the injuries were not immediately known. (AP Photo/KTVI)


Gallery 1

Missouri School Bus Crash

Rescue personnel work at the scene of an accident involving two school buses and a tractor-trailer Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010, on eastbound Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Mo. The school buses were carrying high school band students to an amusement park. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


Gallery 1

Missouri School Bus Crash

Rescue personnel work at the scene of an accident involving two school buses, a tractor-trailer and another passenger vehicle, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010, on eastbound Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Mo. The school buses were carrying high school band students to an amusement park. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


Gallery 1

Missouri School Bus Crash

A rescue worker is seen at the scene of an accident involving two school buses, a tractor-trailer and another passenger vehicle, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010, on eastbound Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Mo. The school buses were carrying high school band students to an amusement park. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


Gallery 1

Missouri School Bus Crash

Emergency personnel transport a child injured in an accident Thursday Aug. 5, 2010 from St. John's Mercy Hospital to Children's Hospital in St. Louis. Two buses carrying high school band students to an amusement park were involved in a freeway wreck with a semi tractor and another passenger vehicle Thursday that left at least two people dead and dozens injured near Gray Summit, officials said. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Laurie Skrivan)


Gallery 1

Missouri School Bus Crash

A crumpled vehicle is seen between a school bus and a tractor-trailer, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010, on eastbound Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Mo. Two school buses involved in the accident were carrying high school band students to an amusement park. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


Gallery 1

Missouri School Bus Crash

Rescue personnel work on the scene next to the covered body of a passenger killed in an accident involving two school buses, a tractor trailer cab and a pickup truck, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010, on eastbound Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Mo. The school buses were carrying high school band students to an amusement park. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


Gallery 1

Missouri School Bus Crash

Emergency workers respond to an accident involving two school buses, a tractor trailer and a pickup truck, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010, on eastbound Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Mo. The school buses were carrying high school band students to an amusement park. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, J.B.Forbes)


Gallery 1

Missouri School Bus Crash

Emergency workers respond to an accident involving two school buses, a tractor trailer and a pickup truck, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010, on eastbound Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Mo. The school buses were carrying high school band students to an amusement park. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen)


Gallery 1

Missouri School Bus Crash

Emergency workers respond to an accident involving two school buses, a tractor trailer and a pickup truck, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010, on eastbound Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Mo. The school buses were carrying high school band students to an amusement park. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen)


Gallery 1

Missouri School Bus Crash

Emergency workers respond to an accident involving two school buses, a tractor trailer and a pickup truck, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010, on eastbound Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Mo. The school buses were carrying high school band students to an amusement park. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen)


Gallery 1

Missouri School Bus Crash

Emergency workers respond to an accident involving two school buses, a tractor trailer and a pickup truck, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010, on eastbound Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Mo. The school buses were carrying high school band students to an amusement park. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Huy Mach)



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