Lake Geneva bus accident injures 15

'All of a sudden, boom'

By Mike Heine/The Week

(Published Dec. 8, 2006, 9:17 a.m.)

A chain-reaction accident on Broad Street in Lake Geneva Thursday involving two school buses and a sport utility vehicle sent 14 children and a bus driver to local hospitals with minor injuries.

At 3:03 p.m. a northbound Jeep Cherokee stopped behind a car on North Broad Street waiting to turn left into parking lot near North Street.

The driver of the first Lenon Bus Service bus, Pamela Blood, 45, was looking in her rearview mirror at the children and failed to stop in time, striking the Jeep.

The driver of another bus following behind, Diane L. McManus, 43, was also looking in her mirror and failed to stop, rear-ending the first bus, Police Chief Richard Meinel said.


A student is transported into an ambulance.
Terry Mayer/The Week

The driver of the Jeep, a 16-year-old girl, and McManus were transported to area hospitals for minor injuries.
Six children, ranging from age 10 to 16, were taken to Aurora Lakeland Medical Center. All were treated and released for minor injuries, a hospital spokesman said.

McManus and seven children, ranging in age from 3 to 16, were treated and released from Mercy Walworth Medical Center for minor injuries, a hospital spokesperson said.

There were about 25 to 30 children on each bus, Fire Chief Brent Connelly said.


A student is bundled against the cold while being led from
the scene by a firefighter. Terry Mayer/The Week

"I looked up, the bus was going straight, and all of a sudden, boom!" said 12-year-old Dalton Nowak, a Lake Geneva Middle School seventh grader who was on the second bus. "The driver tried to stop and smacked into the back of the other bus."
All of the injuries were minor and were to the head and neck, Connelly said. Emergency crews had to use neck braces and back boards on some children as precautionary measures.

About six other children were transported to hospitals but were uninjured. Per bus accident protocol, those children had to leave the scene in an ambulance and go to a hospital because their parents or guardians could not be immediately notified, Connelly said.

The buses were bringing children home from Lake Geneva Middle School and Badger High School. Most of the students were from the middle school, Connelly said.

A Wisconsin State Patrol school bus inspector was on scene to investigate, Meinel said. He did not say if any driver was at fault for inattentive driving.

"It's an ongoing investigation," he said.

All drivers were tested for the presence of alcohol and other drugs. Neither is believed to be a factor in the accident, according to police.

The Jeep and the second school bus were both towed from the scene. The first school bus was able to drive away.
Rescue crews from 12 departments arrived on scene from as far away as Delavan and Racine.

Lenon Bus brought two additional buses to the site to keep children warm while they waited for parents to arrive.


Parents and students at the scene of a chain-reaction accident
involving two school buses and a sport utility vehicle Thursday
afternoon on Broad Street in Lake Geneva. Mike Heine/The Week

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