A 23 year old man from River Falls was killed on Saturday night in a tragic party bus accident in the village of Ellsworth, after he fell from the open rear door of the moving bus.
The bus was coming in to Ellworth village on Highway 10 late on Saturday night when the man, who has been identified as Joel K. Velure, fell to his death from the rear emergency exit door of the party bus on which he was travelling. The bus was operated by the Kilimanjaro Taxi and Bus Service, based in Hudson.
According to local police authorities, emergency responders were rapidly on the scene of the accident after being called by fellow party goers on the bus. However first responders were unsuccessful at resuscitating Velure, who died on the scene before he was able to be airlifted to hospital.
The Ellsowrth Police Department is currently investigating the accident, and will be questioning other passengers on board the bus as well as the bus driver about the circumstances surrounding the incident. The Ellsworth Police Department will be assisted in the investigation by the Wisconsion State Patrol.
According to senior Ellsworth police officer Darren Foss, the party bus was impounded following the accident and will be used as evidence in the investigation. There were no further details released to the media about the number of passengers on board the bus and where the bus was travelling to, and it is not yet clear whether an autopsy will be conducted on Velure’s body.
The bus involved on the accident appears in a photograph on the website of Kilimanjaro Taxi Services, and appears to be an old school bus that was converted and repainted silver to become a ‘party bus’. The bus is hired out by private groups to transport passengers to wedding venues, private events and pub crawls.
The Kilimanjaro website describes the party bus as a cost effective means of transporting guests and friends for a night out, and also speaks of the safety of hiring a bus and bus driver rather than letting guests drive drunk.
US Transport records show that the bus involved in the accident was owned by an Elijah Omwena, and was being leased to the Kilimanjaro bus company. It is not clear whether there were any problems with the bus on inspection following the incident, or why the emergency exit door was open at the time.