A tanker truck driver – wanted for questioning in connection with a hit and run accident involving a school bus this morning in southwest Iowa – was located at a rest area about 30-miles south of Sioux City. Randy Bird, 55, of Wayne, Nebraska is now facing charges. Bird is accused of a driving a tanker truck that clipped a Villisca Community School District bus that was stopping on the highway. There were 15 students on board – no one was injured.
Authorities in southwest Iowa are searching for a tanker truck that clipped a school bus early this morning. It happened at 8 a.m. on Highway 71 in Montgomery County. Villisca/Corning Schools Superintendent Willy Stone says around 15 students were on the bus, but no one was hurt.
“Our bus driver was slowing down, had the lights on, and was getting ready to stop or turn. A tanker truck came up from behind and either didn’t see him turning, didn’t see the lights or just couldn’t get stopped,” Stone said. The tanker truck collided with the back end of the bus.
The driver of the truck left the scene without stopping. Stone says the bus driver, Gary Ford of Villisca, deserves a lot of credit for the lack of injuries. “He was able to keep the bus on the road and keep our students safe. We feel blessed no one was hurt,” Stone said. “You normally hear of a tanker truck hitting a bus and not very good things come from it.”
It’s not clear if the driver of the tanker truck knew he hit the bus, but Stone says evidence at the scene indicates he should have known. “I guess my feeling is he knows it happened,” Stone said. “Maybe he doesn’t, I hope he…didn’t flee the scene with the knowledge something happened.”
State law requires drivers in both directions to stop once red lights are activated on a school bus. Authorities say the semi tractor that clipped the bus was red and was pulling tanker with the word “Ruan” on the back. The damage to the bus is estimated at $500. Parents of the students who were on the bus were contacted and given the option to take their children home.
By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic