Bus crash update: Bus driver cited for stop-sign violation; no serious injuriesA local school bus driver caused an accident Monday after he failed to see an oncoming vehicle, according to a Highway Patrol trooper. The two people in the oncoming SUV received minor injuries, the trooper said. Nobody in the school bus was injured.
By: Staff reports, The Daily Republic
A local school bus driver caused an accident Monday after he failed to see an oncoming vehicle, according to a Highway Patrol trooper.
The two people in the oncoming SUV received minor injuries, the trooper said. Nobody in the school bus was injured.
The accident was reported at 4:24 p.m., about an hour after the first day of school ended in Mitchell. Highway Patrol Trooper Jason Brandt said bus driver Einar Petersen, 48, of Mitchell, who works for Dietrich Bus Service, was driving east across state Highway 37 on 259th Street, four miles south of Mitchell. Petersen allegedly failed to see a Chevy TrailBlazer approaching from the south on the highway, and the TrailBlazer slammed into the side of the bus.
Petersen was issued a ticket for a stop-sign violation.
Dietrich Bus Service is contracted by the Mitchell School District to provide busing. Mitchell Superintendent Joe Graves said school officials will meet with representatives of the bus company Tuesday morning to review the accident. He declined to speculate what action might result from the meeting.
“We’ll discuss it with the bus company and determine what’s appropriate,” Graves said.
The driver of the SUV was Janelle Reichert, 41, of Parkston. She had a 14-year-old passenger. Neither was wearing a seat belt, Trooper Brandt said, but they escaped with minor cuts and bruises to their faces. They were transported to Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell, where they were treated and released.
Graves said there were two students on the bus, though Brandt said there were three children in total on the bus, including one who was the bus driver’s child. Graves said the students were picked up by family members at the accident scene.
Brandt said Reichert’s cruise was set at 65 mph just prior to the accident, according to Reichert. She applied her brakes and slowed down before the crash, Brandt said.
There was extensive damage to the front of the SUV, and Brandt said it might be totaled. He estimated $5,000 worth of damage to the SUV in his written report. The door of the bus was crushed and there was other damage around the area of the door.
Following official protocol for school bus accidents, the bus driver was taken for blood testing. Graves said the tests were strictly procedural in nature and Petersen is not suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Graves said bus accidents are rare in the district.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve even had a whisper of an accident.”