A school bus loaded with children on their way home from school last Tuesday was rear-ended by an East Dubuque man. Four of the 23 children on the bus were transported to area hospitals for treatment of minor injuries.
According to the Grant County Sheriff's Department, at approximately 3:35 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13, a Cuba City School District bus driven by John Murray, 48, Cuba City was stopped on County Highway H near Alt Road in Smelser Township dropping off a student. A 1999 GMC pick up truck being driven by John Timmerman, 64, East Dubuque was westbound on H and crashed into the back of the stopped school bus. Timmerman advised he was not paying attention and didn't recognize the bus was stopped until it was too late.
Murray advised the school bus had all red signal lights activated with the "STOP" arm out. Timmerman advised he did see the lights and STOP arm activated but was still unable to stop.
The four students who received injuries were either transported to Finley Hospital or Mercy Hospitals in Dubuque or Southwest Health Center in Platteville. The Grant County Sheriff's Department was assisted at the scene by Cuba City EMS and Fire, Hazel Green EMS, Dickeyville EMS, Russ Stratton Buses Inc., Cuba City School District and Guys Truck and Tractor, Kieler.
Timmerman's truck was totaled in the accident and the school bus received moderate damage. The accident remains under investigation and charges are pending.
The Cuba City School District has an emergency procedure handbook that is to be followed. "When a bus is in an accident, our first determination is to find out the extent; is it a fender bender or is it something that is more severe," said Cuba City District Administrator, Doug Domeracki. "In this particular situation the information that first came into the school indicated that no student was injured, however, Rhonda Loeffelholz, Cuba City Elementary School principal, and Jackie Friesen, Cuba City Elementary School secretary went to the scene to assess the extent."
Domeracki said the overall concern lies with the well-being of the students and many times they are shaken up by the event regardless of the extent. "Once on the scene our plan involves communicating with those services needed including fire, police and emergency medical personnel," Domeracki said. "Looking at the events of this past situation, thankfully no one was seriously hurt, but having contact numbers where we could reach parents or emergency contacts would be helpful. Although many of the numbers were cell phone numbers an emergency contact that can be reached during the day would be very helpful and something we will be communicating the need to have from our parents."