NEBRASKA CITY – Hayward Elementary School expects all of its fourth graders to be in attendance for the last day of school on Friday, despite a Highway 2 accident Wednesday that sent their bus into a roadside ditch.
The Nebraska State Patrol says 24-year-old Kristin Cunningham was turning toward Dunbar when her Ford Fusion hit the bus loaded with 38 children and four adults.
Principal Scot Davis said counselors were available at the school on Thursday and special discussion sessions were held with classes taught by Mrs. Mahoney and Mrs. Gewinner.
Davis: “The students were given opportunity to talk about what they saw and heard and felt. I really think the kids felt supported. They got the chance to get some things off of their shoulders and got to hear from some other kids.”
Dr. Dan DeFreece said CHI Health St. Mary’s received a call around 2:45 p.m. about the bus accident and was told that children would be brought to the hospital for evaluation.
DeFreece: “Obviously very concerning when you have a large amount of people coming in, especially children, but we prepare for these types of incidents. The staff was prepared and ready with the appropriate processes to be able to evaluate and determine the level of need based on the injuries and complaints.”
Dr. DeFreece said he is proud of the team at the hospital and said operations went smoothly working with the school and parents.
The state patrol reports injury to 21 passengers, but Davis said all of the students involved came home that night. One student was taken to Children’s Hospital in Omaha, but was released in the early morning hours on Thursday.
Jason Burr of the Dunbar Volunteer Fire Department said three units responded. He said the accident scene, in a marked construction zone, instantly had traffic pressure.
Arriving Dunbar firefighters first assessed for injuries and were able to transfer over to scene safety.
Davis said he is relieved to expect everyone to make it to school for the last day on Friday.
He said the bus driver is a hero in the process because he did everything he could do to avoid a deeper ravine and keep the bus upright.