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Archive for Friday, April 15, 2011

School bus rolls over in Ness County, 14 taken to hospital

April 15, 2011

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— A school bus collided with a sport utility vehicle Friday in western Kansas and rolled over, injuring 12 students on the bus and the drivers of both vehicles.

The accident happened about 8 a.m. at an intersection in Ness County, said Kansas Highway Patrol spokesman Mark Engholm.

The 29-passenger mini-bus was transporting Western Plains School District students ranging in age from kindergartners to seniors in high school, and the SUV was driven by the parent of a district student, said Superintendent Roger Stumpf.

"We're sending out our thoughts and prayers to all those involved," said Stumpf, whose 165-student district is among the smallest in the state and has to bus students over a large geographic area each day. "There is no good side to this. It will be something we will be dealing with for days."

Engholm said the 14 people who were injured were taken to hospitals. He said the driver of the SUV was reported in critical condition. Stumpf said no one on the bus sustained injuries that were believed to be life-threatening.

Kris Ochs, the administrator of Grisell Memorial Hospital in Ransom, said her facility received eight patients from the accident and that two of them were stabilized before they were transferred to other facilities because, while they were in fair condition, their injuries were more serious. She said the six patients who remained were stable.

Patients also were taken to Ness County Hospital, but calls to the facility weren't immediately returned.

Engholm said the cause of the crash was under investigation. High winds up to 50 miles per hour were reported in the area early Friday. Engholm said it's unclear if weather contributed to the accident; Stumpf said he was told weather played no role.

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