Thirty-four Brainerd students got a startling ride home from school during Thursday's winter storm after a vehicle - driven by a Brainerd High School student - lost control and struck their school bus head-on.
Fortunately, no one - not even the 17-year-old driver of the vehicle that struck the bus - was injured, although the 17-year-old was checked by North Ambulance personnel at the scene.
The accident occurred at 3:25 p.m. on Crow Wing County Road 48 near Evergreen Drive in Baxter. The Reichert Bus Service school bus had picked up students from Forestview Middle School and was traveling along County Road 48 when the driver of the compact SUV, Ashley Ann Juenemann, 17, Baxter, lost control and hit the bus, which was driven by Roger James Witt, 44, Little Falls.
As cars passed by the accident scene, the students remained on the damaged bus until another bus was able to pick them up to transport them home. Brainerd Superintendent Steve Razidlo arrived at the scene to check on the students.
"The kids are shook up and scared because there was an impact," said Razidlo. "We're always happy the kids are safe and we're thankful the bus driver had the training to stay calm."
In addition to Razidlo, other school and Reichert officials responded to the scene.
Razidlo said school staff were calling parents after the crash to notify them about the accident but many of the students on the bus had already called their parents on their cell phones.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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