Kids OK in bus-truck collision

Published 11:25am Friday, September 14, 2012

A bus carrying 46 Cleveland Elementary School students was in a traffic accident Thursday morning in the intersection of Friberg and Randolph avenues.

The school district reported no injuries, but police said four children complained of back pain or soreness after the collision.

The accident occurred around 8:20 a.m. A transfer bus from Kennedy Secondary School to Cleveland Elementary was facing east on Randolph and attempting to turn right onto Friberg.

Police said the bus driver, Ronald Dean Schetnan, 67, failed to see a delivery truck driven by Robert Wynn, 57, which was already headed north on Friberg. The bus entered the intersection and ran into the left side of the truck, causing damage to both vehicles.

No one required medical treatment or an ambulance, although a school nurse checked out students who complained of issues resulting from the collision.

When police arrived, the school was already transferring students onto a different bus to take them to Cleveland. Superintendent Jerry Ness said the students were all spoken to about the incident as a group. The children then called their parents, with all but two students able to reach their parents. Those parents were reached later in the day.

“We’re glad all the students were safe,” said Ness.

The general manager of Ottertail Minn-Dakota Coaches, the bus company that serves Fergus Falls Public Schools, could not be reached for comment.

  • Jake Krohn

    Can we consider for a moment the absurdity of kids boarding a bus at Kennedy and riding it to Cleveland? As the crow flies, the schools are a quarter-mile apart, and you can stand on Cleveland Avenue and quite literally see both schools at the same time.

    With the removal of neighborhood schools and the ascension of age-segregated facilities (not something I agree with, but that’s another screed), I understand the reasoning behind a hub-and-spoke approach to moving kids around, but this is an awfully short spoke. Seems that we could provide kids with an opportunity for some casual fitness, get them out of vehicles, possibly save the district some money, and create a more compelling street environment if we viewed the proximity of the Cleveland and Kennedy schools as a unique asset to be taken advantage of rather than a problem that can be fixed by a one-size-fits-all approach to transportation.

    • Apples

      They have been doing the bus system for that way for 40 years or more.
      Do you know how many kids would get “lost” walking to school those few blocks and when its -30F below zero?
      And how many close calls would it take to get a kid hit by a car crossing Friberg street during that busy time before and after school and then extra activities (school activities and armory)in that area.
      Ride the bus and experience it yourself then start giving out ideas. I am sure the bus drivers would love to see people involved in the bus problems.

      • Jake Krohn

        I think it’s an all-too-common symptom of our time to assume that kids are less capable than they really are. So, while your reaction is not surprising, it’s troubling and discouraging nonetheless. And while it’s true that I’m several decades separated from riding the big yellow bus, I do read, think about, and advocate for this kind of stuff quite a bit, so my opinions are not as uninformed as you might think.

        There are exactly two streets that have to be crossed to travel between the schools. We’re in sad shape if we can trust neither our children nor our fellow users of the road to make this arrangement work. Take what it costs to run the bus between the schools every day and use it to pay someone to lead a group of kids in a walking school bus — I encourage you to look it up if you’ve never heard of one before. I bet the district would come out ahead and have healthier kids, to boot. I would love to even see this tried for a week or two as an experiment.

        And Friberg is only unsafe because we’ve made it so through blind application of misguided design standards. Not every place needs to be a 30+ MPH thoroughfare. Especially places that run next to potential sources of foot and bike traffic. It’s counterintuitive, I know, but if you narrow a few roads, possibly throw in some medians and better crosswalks, plant a few trees alongside the road, and add some life in the form of walkers and bikers, you’ll end up with something that makes being a pedestrian a safe and, dare I say, enjoyable experience while minimally affecting vehicular traffic. All this, while also being less expensive to maintain in the long run.

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