Nebraskan authorities have confirmed that four people were killed, including two children, when a school bus was involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer transporting bales of hay in the rural Webster County of Nebraska on Wednesday.
In a statement released to the media, Webster Country Sheriff Mr. Troy R. Schmitz said that the drivers of both vehicles were killed in the accident, as well as two passengers who were students at Blue Hill Community School.
The identity of the drivers have been released by local authorities. Mr. Travis Witte, the 21 year old driver of the tractor-trailer, and Mrs. Marla Wentworth, the 59 year old bus driver, were both killed instantly in the collision.
The fatal collision occurred at an intersection between County Road R and County Road 1800 just north of Blue Hill town, which is close to the state border between Nebraska and Kansas. The accident happened between the hours of 4.30pm and 4.45pm on Wednesday afternoon.
The two students who were killed in the accident have been identified as 10 year old Caroline Thallman and 18 year old Dustin Tesdahl. The bus was also carrying five other students, all of which were taken to local hospitals for treatment of minor injuries. According to the Webster Country sheriff’s department, a 7 year old boy and a 6 year old girl have already been discharged from hospital, while an 8 year old girl and a 10 year old boy were transferred to a hospital in Hastings where they remain in a stable condition.
Authorities have not yet determined the cause of the accident, and the police are currently conducting an investigation into the incident.
An attorney based in Webster County, Sara Bockstadter, has extended her condolences to the families of those who were killed or injuried in the accident, and have asked for the Nebraskan community to provide comfort and support to everyone who was affected by the accident. It is hoped that the results of the investigation into the accident will provide some answers to the friends and family members grieving the loss of a child. It remains to be seen whether any legislative proceedings will follow, depending on what the cause of the accident is established to be.
After the accident, the Blue Hill Community School District has established a crisis center on the school campus to assist fellow students and family members with counseling and information surrounding the incident.