Two Students Killed In Nebraska School Bus-Semi Crash

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

A school bus and a tractor-trailer collided in southern Nebraska killing two students and two drivers, and injuring at least four more children.

Nebraska State Patrol officials say the crash happened in the intersection of county road “R” and 1800 Road in Webster County south of the community of Blue Hill around 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Officials say a Blue Hill District school bus collided with a semi truck and trailer hauling hay bales. When crews arrived both vehicles were engulfed in flames.

NSP officials say four people died in the collision including the driver of the semi 21-year-old Travis Witte of Blue Hill, the driver of the school bus 59-year-old Marla Wentworth of Red Cloud, and two students riding the bus 18-year-old Dustin Tesdahl and 10-year-old Caroline Thallman. All four died at the scene of the accident.

Five other students on the bus ranging in age from 6-10 were transported to area hospitals. Four of the students were taken to Mary Lanning Hospital in Hastings. A 7-year-old male student was treated and released. A 10-year old male student and an 8-year old female student were admitted. A 7-year old female student was flown by medical helicopter to Children’s Hospital in Omaha. A 6-year old female was treated and released from Brodstone Memorial Hospital in Superior.

“Our first concern is for the families of those affected by Wednesday’s events," said Sara Bockstadter, Webster County Attorney. “Our hearts go out to everyone who has been touched by this tragedy. We ask for your consideration as our communities begin to process what has happened and work toward healing.”

The Nebraska State Patrol is assisting the Webster County Sheriff’s Office and the Webster County Attorney with the accident investigation.

The Blue Hill, Hastings, Lawrence and Red Cloud Fire and Rescue Squads, and the Hastings and Superior Police Departments also assisted.

The Blue Hill Community School District has set up a crisis center at the school in Blue Hill, 606 South Sycamore Street, to assist students and their families

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