Archive for Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tonganoxie school bus collides with van on U.S. Highway 24-40

December 10, 2008, 10:07 a.m. Updated December 10, 2008, 5:23 p.m.


Three Tonganoxie Elementary School children were taken to area hospitals for further examination of minor injures that resulted from a school bus collision this morning.

Around 7:30 a.m., a Tonganoxie School District bus carrying around 30 children from all three Tonganoxie schools was heading north on 206th Street when it got to the intersection of U.S. Highway 24-40, just east of Tonganoxie.

Kansas State Technical Trooper Howard Dickinson said Gerald Nelson, the 69-year-old Tonganoxie bus driver, stopped at the intersection, but must not have seen the Chrysler Pacifica heading east on the highway.

The bus pulled in front of the vehicle causing Cheryl Macek, 32, Tonganoxie, to hit the bus with her vehicle.

Dickinson said there was extensive damage to both vehicles, but neither driver was injured.

“It could have been a lot worse had there been a passenger in the second vehicle,” Dickinson said.

Leavenworth County Emergency Medical Services tended to the children on the bus, but released the three injured children to their parents who took the children to local hospitals.

Keagan Newberry, 8, and Cindy Andersen, 8, were taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Aubrie Donell, 9, was taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.

Newberry and Andersen were treated and released from LMH. An official from Children's Mercy Hospital said there were no records that Donell was treated at their facility.

The remaining students were taken to the three Tonganoxie public schools to begin their school days.

Kyle Haden, assistant superintendent, wrote in a press release that the district was “thankful that there were not any serious injuries and we regret that this situation occurred.”

He said there have been other bus-related accidents in the district this year, but they were usually minor incidents such as fender benders, not anything involving so many emergency personnel and on a major highway.

Hayden spoke with Superintendent Richard Erickson Wednesday afternoon about prior bus collisions of this magnitude, but Erickson couldn’t recall in his 12 years at the school district a collision that rendered a bus undrivable.

The two vehicles were towed from the scene.


Kristen Murphy 9 years, 5 months ago

It was ugly. I drove by around 8:00. Both front ends were messed up. Thankfully it was minor injuries. I would like to know if the bus pulled out in front of the van though...It sure looked like it.No joke Confrontation - seat belts on the bus would be nice.

Joel Hood 9 years, 5 months ago

I know there are official reasons why school buses don't have seatbelts. Here is some info that explains why (not that I am qualified to vouch for the site or the reasons listed) -

Jessie Stoltenow 9 years, 5 months ago

The bus didn't see the van and did pull out in front of her. She didn't have enough time or room to stop. I'm so thankful that everyone is doing okay and there were only minor injuries!

Kristen Murphy 9 years, 5 months ago

Thanks js02. It looks like that is what happened. That isn't the greatest intersection in the world.

Curtis Lange 9 years, 5 months ago

Well, those kids will have a memory they'll be remembering long down the road. I remember a school bus accident I was involved in as an elementary schooler. Very clearly.Glad no one was seriously hurt.

farva 9 years, 5 months ago

that intersection has no blocked views...there's nothing worse with that intersection than any other intersection. It was just an accident that happened.

luvtocamp 9 years, 5 months ago

Have you ever sat in a bus at that stop? There IS a blind spot. When you sit as high as you do in a bus, you can not see to the west due to a DO NOT ENTER and a COUNTY ROAD 25 sign. I hope the county and the U.S.D 464 looks into this.

volunteer 9 years, 5 months ago

Kids would be constantly whackin' those nearby if they had seat belts on the school bus. Fights would break out, the bus driver would be distracted and more injuries or deaths would occur.At least that's the reasoning I have heard for the absence of seat belts on school buses.

wlf2527 9 years, 5 months ago

Someone forgot to rock an roll before pulling out into the intersection. Seat belts will only be seen on smaller buses not on big buses

luvtocamp 9 years, 5 months ago

60 plus 5 year old with seat belts on and the bus is on fire. Who is going to make sure they all unbelt them selfs? Remember there is a fire, PANIC has struck. The high seats help keep them safe if the bus is hit.

farva 9 years, 5 months ago

wow, are you seriously claiming one or two small signs can block the entire view of an intersection? I hope you never drive in any town or city.

TongieMom 9 years, 5 months ago

Those signs do not make this a 'blind' intersection and they most certainly do not impede the complete view of traffic to the west. It was an happens...unfortunately it involved a school bus with children on it. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured or killed (considering the time of day & the speed of travel of some motorist at that spot).Maybe he didn't make the complete stop, maybe he checked west, then east and didn't double check back west before pulling out?? The investigation will show what happened.With a child who rides a bus in the district (and in fact, THAT particular bus), I think that anytime a bus is turning onto a major highway like 24-40 crossing lanes of fast moving's concerning, especially during peak 'rush hour' times.

douglasroadmom 9 years, 5 months ago

The media has blown the whole thing out of perportion.Accidents happen and as a mother of 2 children that ride that particular bus and knowing that driver, it was a complete accident. He would never do anything to hurt these children and he is just sick about the whole thing.As for having seat belts in buses.....I used to drive a school bus and believe me seat belts would not be better. School buses are already designed as safe as they can be and yet hold the number of kids that they hold. Not only in case of a fire are they a bad idea but the seat spacing and the impact factor would mean that every seat would have to have a shoulder strap and a lap strap.I agree that that intersection really stinks to cross when it is busy. This bus driver has been driving this bus everyday for how many years????? It was a really bad mistake, everybody makes them.I know for a fact that the parents didn't release the names of their children to the press and they are looking into right now.

kcrew 9 years, 5 months ago

I also know for a fact that the school district did not release the names of these children or the bus driver to the press. The statement released was informational but very general. It is sad that the LJWord felt the need to sensationalize the story by including names and ages. 99% of what was commented on by the media was information which had to be obtained by the highway patrol who worked the scene.

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