Fourth school bus involved in crashMOUNT VERNON — The fourth school bus crash of the school year in the Mitchell area happened Tuesday, this time in the Mount Vernon School District.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
MOUNT VERNON — The fourth school bus crash of the school year in the Mitchell area happened Tuesday, this time in the Mount Vernon School District.
Shortly before 7 a.m. Tuesday, Ronnie Long, of Mount Vernon, was driving an empty Mount Vernon School District bus south on 397th Avenue, also known as the “Mount Vernon oil.” A white 2003 Chevy Express van driven by Jorge Morales Chavez, of Arlington, with eight passengers was behind the bus.
According to Davison County Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Reitzel, Long signaled and began to turn east onto 257th Street, about three miles south of Mount Vernon, when Chavez failed to slow down in time and crashed into the driver’s side of the bus.
No one was injured in the crash. Chavez told Reitzel he didn’t see the bus until it was too late to stop. Chavez was cited for careless driving.
Both the bus and the van were able to drive away from the scene of the crash.
Reitzel estimated the crash caused about $4,000 in damage to the bus and $7,000 in damage to the van.
Mount Vernon Superintendent Patrick Mikkonen said a letter will be sent home with students to notify parents of the crash.
It was the fourth crash involving a school bus within 17 miles of Mitchell since school began Aug. 20.
The string of crashes should be a reminder to everyone to pay attention and drive carefully around school buses, Mikkonen said.
“When buses are around, you just have to be aware of your surroundings,” he said.
“If people can take extra precaution when they see a yellow school bus, then that’s all we can ask.”
On the first day of the school year, Einar Peterson, 48, of Mitchell, was driving a bus eastbound across state Highway 37 on 259th Street, four miles south of Mitchell, when it collided with a northbound vehicle. Peterson was cited for a stop-sign violation.
The two people in the other vehicle, Janelle Reichert, 41, of Parkston, and a 14-year-old passenger, received minor cuts and bruises to their faces. Both were released from Avera Queen of Peace Hospital the day of the crash.
Another crash happened shortly before 4:30 p.m. Sept. 21 when Richard Buck, 65, of Mitchell, was driving an empty bus southbound on North Foster Street in Mitchell behind a semi driven by Chance Parr, 20, of Mitchell.
According to state Highway Patrol Trooper Jason Brandt, when Parr slowed down to approximately 10 mph, Buck attempted to pass going about 35 mph but collided with the semi’s trailer, which was loaded with hay, as Parr turned left into his nearby driveway.
According to Brandt, Buck told authorities he did not see the turn signal.
Buck was cited for unsafe passing. Neither driver was hurt in the crash.
The third crash occurred Sept. 26 when Hanson School District bus driver Douglas Guericke, 53, of Alexandria, was waiting at a bus stop on Highway 38 when a pickup driven by Arlo North, 23, rammed into the rear of the school bus.
North and several students suffered minor injuries in the crash. Information on any citations issued in that incident was not immediately available.