Six treated in New London bus crash
School district responded effectively, superintendent says
By Scott Bellile
Five children and a bus driver were treated at the hospital following a school bus crash in the town of Lebanon on Tuesday, Jan. 8.
The one-vehicle crash occurred on Stage Road at Otto Road before 7:30 a.m., according to Waupaca County Sheriff’s Deputy David Huberty.
The bus lost control on a curve and entered the ditch where it struck trees and came to a stop on rocks.
Gold Cross Ambulance drove the six people to ThedaCare Medical Center-New London, where they were treated and released.
The Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin State Patrol, New London Fire Department and New London First Responders also responded to the crash.
Four public school students, one private school student and the driver were on the bus at the time of the crash, School District of New London Superintendent Dennis Krueger said.
Passengers suffered “little bumps and bruises,” and one cut their finger, but nobody was seriously injured, Krueger said.
“We went through our protocols to ensure everybody was safe and took those students and the driver to the emergency room just to ensure their wellbeing, but everybody was OK and released,” Krueger said. “We contacted the parents … as soon as we were able to, in less than an hour.”
Building principals checked on the students once they returned to school, Krueger said.
Krueger said the school district’s response went well, but nonetheless the district will determine ways to respond more quickly and efficiently in the future, in case a more serious crash occurs.
“Every minute counts in potentially dangerous situations like that, so we would want to maximize our time to be as efficient as possible,” Krueger said.
Bus crashes happen occasionally
Tuesday’s crash was less serious than others in recent years involving New London school buses.
In the more serious crashes, other vehicles struck the buses resulting in injuries or death.
- In February 2017, a semi rear-ended a bus that had stopped to pick up a student on U.S. 45 in the town of Hortonia. The bus was pushed into oncoming traffic where it struck a stopped vehicle. Eleven people, including three children, were treated at the hospital. Bus driver Kenneth Price was later honored with the Wisconsin School Bus Association’s top award for his response to the crash.
- In March 2015, a car rear-ended a bus that had stopped to pick up a student on State Highway 54 in the town of Mukwa. The driver of the car, 19-year-old Edgar Soriano of Manawa, died. Nobody else was injured.
- In January 2013, 17-year-olds Yalanda Maggio and Levi Johnson died after Maggio’s vehicle crashed into an oncoming bus on an icy curve on County Highway W in the town of Mukwa. The bus driver and three children suffered minor injuries.
Safer form of transportation for youth
Each year, four to six school-age children are killed while riding school buses, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Due to the way school buses are designed and regulated, children who ride them are 70 times likelier to get to school safety than their peers who travel by car.
Children are more in danger while boarding and exiting the bus. The NHTSA recommends children use the bus’s handrails, make eye contact with the bus driver before crossing the street in front of a bus, and avoid walking behind a bus.
As for motorists, the NHTSA says they should slow down when a bus activates flashing yellow lights, and they must stop when the bus activates red flashing lights and extended stop arms.