Archive for Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Students injured in Colorado bus crash

March 27, 2002

Nine students were injured when a bus carrying 23 members of the Basehor-Linwood High School band was rear-ended by a truck Sunday, March 24, near the Kansas-Colorado border.

None of the students' injuries were life-threatening, school officials said.

Most of the students were treated at an area hospital and later released.

However, one student, junior Jennifer Pooler, did sustain leg and hip injuries that required surgery at a Denver hospital. Pooler's parents are with her in Colorado, BLHS principal Bill Hatfield said.

She is expected to make a full-recovery and be back home in a week, Hatfield said.

The band students were returning home from a spring break trip when their charter bus was rear-ended by a truck pulling a trailer. The truck was not a semitrailer, school officials said.

The accident occurred at 11 p.m. on Interstate 70 in Flagler, Colo.

Initial reports indicate the truck slid into the back of the bus as a result of slick roads and inclement weather, school officials said.

Those students not taken to the hospital were guests of a local church and Veterans of Foreign Wars hall that night in Colorado.

"The church and the VFW I thought really ought to get a pat on the back," Hatfield said. "Everyone commented on the hospitality.

"We thought people did nice things for our group."

The students returned to BLHS Monday night and were back in school Tuesday morning.

"Everyone made it home and parents were relieved and happy to see them," Hatfield said. "Everybody is relieved they are back home and safe."

School officials said a post-incident review would take place in the coming weeks to see if the accident could have been avoided.

"We're going to visit with everyone to make sure that future trips are as safe as they can be," Hatfield said.

Hatfield said from the reports he received, the students' bus driver acted appropriately and adjusted to the increasingly difficult weather.

"We felt like, based on conversations, the driver handled the situation very well," he said.

Out-of-state school trips must prove to be beneficial and well planned before being approved by the Basehor-Linwood School Board, school officials said.

Cal Cormack, Basehor-Linwood School District superintendent, said he didn't think the accident warranted any change to district policy, concerning out-of-state trips.

"I think it won't because we believe the policies and procedures are safe and appropriate," Cormack said.

Although the accident was unfortunate, Hatfield said he was relieved to have most of the students back safe.

"By all accounts we're grateful," he said. "We're obviously sad that the girl or any kids were injured, but it certainly could have been worse."

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