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School Bus-Semi Truck Accident Shuts Down I80; Field Trip Cut Short

School Bus-Semi Truck Accident Shuts Down I80; Field Trip Cut Short

By Sarah Te Slaa. CREATED Nov 8, 2011

Cass County, NE-  Crumbled concrete littered Interstate 80 Tuesday morning after a crash involving a school bus and a semi truck.

Just before nine, 28 Kearney High School juniors and seniors and four staff members were heading to Omaha for a field trip.  They were planning to tour UNMC and learn more about careers in the medical field.

A semi truck cut the field trip short.  The semi changed lanes and hit the side of the school bus.  The bus barreld into the concrete construction barriers about 10 miles east of Lincoln near the Greenwood exit.
    
Paramedics took one teacher to Bryan-LGH West Hospital in Lincoln with serious injuries and six students were treated for bumps, bruises, and scrapes.  One had a broken hand.

"Those kids that were on there are traumatized to varying degrees from being hit by a semi and being pushed over a concrete barrier," says Dr. Brian Maher, the superintendent of Kearney Public Schools.
 
Ashland-Greenwood School District sent a bus to pick-up the stranded students.  They waited at the school for a bus ride home.

"They [Ashland-Greenwood School District] provided not only good support and words of encouragement, but really provided a safe place and provided transportation," says Maher.

"Its just kind of a common thing," says Brad Jacobsen the principal at Ashland-Greenwood Middle and High School.  "I think any school in that situation would jump at the chance to help another school district."
 
About three hours after the accident, the Kearney kids boarded the bus home.

"I can't imagine the trauma that would have ensued if that bus had been put on its side or rolled or any number of things that could have been worse than what happened," says Maher.

Doctors checked out the six injured kids.  They were treated and released to their parents.  The teacher was admited to the hospital, but no update on their condition.

The driver of the bus was 68 year-old Darwin L. Fullmer from Kearney and the driver of the semi was 56 year-old Jun Meng from New York.  Neither driver was injured.   

The Nebraska State Patrol shut down I80 eastbound for about four hours to clean up the accident.  They diverted traffic at the Waverly exit while construction crews reset the barriers and cleaned up the highway.