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Schoolbus Accident Leaves Two Dead, Dozens Injured in Missouri

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A four-vehicle accident left two dead and dozens with personal injuries on I-44 outside of Gray Summit, Missouri last Thursday. The tragic accident involved two school buses full of children, a tractor trailer, and a pickup truck.

The driver of the pickup truck and a high school girl from one of the buses were killed in the crash, while over forty others were taken to the hospital, most of them suffering minor injuries. It was a terrifying interruption to the John F. Hodge High School band’s annual outing to Six Flags amusement park.

The Chicago Tribune provides some details:

According to the company that owns the truck, the crash occurred just as the truck was slowing down because of construction-related congestion on the highway.

Climate Express President Tim Laske said the pickup hit the truck from behind and was then struck by the first school bus, which appears to have ridden atop the pickup before being struck by the second school bus. […]

The driver of the first bus told investigators that she had changed lanes to avoid a car stalled on the side of the road and was unable to stop in time after realizing the pickup had struck the tractor trailer ahead of her, Highway Patrol officials said.

Megan Fleming, a sixteen year-old student on one of the buses, kept her head during the chaos and began checking people for accident injuries and getting them off of the bus. Another classmate on the bus, Audrey Hofherr, described Fleming’s actions on Good Morning America:

She got everybody calm and got us all organized, had us all organized so we could get off the bus. We wouldn’t have been able to get off without her. She was checking on everybody, making sure everybody was OK.

Her actions are a reminder that keeping calm and together in the wake of an accident is incredibly important. In some instances it can be life saving.

News of this accident has spread far and wide and has sparked debate across the nation regarding an array of auto safety topics. In Mississippi, whether or not to require seatblets on school buses has become a heated issue — complicated by the struggle to fund a new seat-belt initiative, if passed.

Image by hellochris, used under its Creative Commons license