Fulton, MO 63° View Live Radar Tue H 84° L 64° Wed H 87° L 66° Thu H 88° L 67° Weather Sponsored By:

Charter bus taking Missouri School for Deaf students home from summer school overturns

Charter bus taking Missouri School for Deaf students home from summer school overturns

MSD students, chaperone escape crash with minor injuries

August 4th, 2013 by By Dean Asher and Kevin M. Smith in News

A tow truck pulls a charter bus from a ditch near Danville, about 20 miles east of Kingdom City, Friday afternoon. While driving on a ramp for I-70 eastbound the bus went off the road and tipped onto its side. Bus passengers included students from the Missouri School for the Deaf in Fulton.

Photo by Kevin M. Smith

About 1:15 p.m. Friday a charter bus carrying more than a dozen students from Fulton-based Missouri School for the Deaf fell onto its side in the ditch at the on ramp to I-70 at the Danville interchange near Montgomery City - about 22 miles east of Kingdom City.

The preliminary report from the Missouri Highway Patrol states a bus driver blew through a stop sign on an interstate exit ramp before careening off the right side of the on ramp.

The highway patrol's online report listed 18 injured - including the bus driver and a chaperone for the students - and taken via ambulance to University Hospital in Columbia. All were listed with minor injuries.

Sarah Potter, communications director with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said the bus was transporting 15 to 17 students, two chaperones and a driver.

"This was a routine transport," Potter said. "Students were heading home after their extended school year for summer school. These are students who come from all over the state so we get a charter bus to take them home to different areas in the state."

Injured students listed in the highway patrol's report ranged from age 10 through 18 and had hometowns including Cape Girardeau, Springfield, Florissant and Marquand - though most were from St. Louis.

The accident reported stated the bus driver, Wint E. Smith, 72, of Sedalia was driving east on I-70 and exited at Danville and "continued to travel up the exit ramp at a high rate of speed." The report goes on to state the driver, who also was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, failed to stop at a stop sign, traveled across the overpass onto to the eastbound entrance ramp to I-70 and went off the right side of the ramp and overturned.

Potter said DESE had notified parents and were in the process of making transportation arrangements Friday afternoon.

Potter said MSD Superintendent Barb Garrison and other staff immediately went to the hospital to help with communication between hospital staff and students.

Potter said initial reports from the hospital indicated the children had "minor injuries - bumps and bruises, that sort of thing."

Missouri School for the Deaf is located in Fulton and instructs deaf and hard-of-hearing students from all over the state. The students involved were scheduled to stop at several eastern Missouri locations including St. Charles, St. Louis, Arnold, Sikeston and Cape Girardeau.

The patrol identified the following male passengers, all from St. Louis: Noe Garcia, 16; Micheal A. Hill, 18; Jeffery K. Porter, 16; Stequan Scott, 14; Lamont Smith, 15; Trey Thornton, 17; Damar Washington, 11; and Mikal Meriweather, age unknown.

Other male passengers were: Hezeki M. Smoot, 10, Cape Girardeau; Jesse G. Schmidt, 22, Mexico, Mo.; and Joshua D. Vaughn, 18, Florissant.

The patrol listed the following female passengers, all from St. Louis: Delanzia D. Hayes, 13; Joyla Ingram, 17; and Azara Macker, 17.

Other female passengers were: Cristin M. Kohl, 11, Marquand, Mo.; Madonna M. Moore, 14, Springfield, Mo.; and Kimberly J. Peterson, 33, Fulton.

Mary Jenkins, spokesperson for MU Health Care, said Saturday afternoon that University Hospital treated and released 13 students and three adults in its emergency room Friday. She said two children were taken to MU Children's Hospital and stayed overnight. As of 5 p.m. one of those two children had been discharged from the hospital and expected the final injured person to be released later Saturday.

Education Department officials were contacting the children's parents Friday and arranging to get them home, Potter said.

Russ Automotive of Kingdom City pushed the bus upright and towed it from the scene about 4:30 p.m. after all passengers had been transported to the hospital.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.