Accidents in Wisconsin and California involving vehicles carrying student-athletes put the spotlight on team travel safety over the weekend.
In Wisconsin, a bus carrying a high school volleyball team struck a car, killing two people and injuring 16 others Saturday afternoon.
Initial reports on the accident indicate that the car failed to stop for the school bus as it was traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 63. The car was struck on the driver’s side, killing the driver, Tiffany Hostetler, 29 and her three-year-old daughter, Elanora Hutton. Five-year-old Marshall Hutton, who was also in the car, was critically injured and flown to Regions Hospital.
Authorities said the bus came to a rest in a ditch, partially submerged in water. All occupants, including students, coaching staff and bus driver were able to get out of the bus safely through the rear emergency exit. They were treated at Cumberland Memorial Hospital and released with no significant injuries.
The bus was owned and operated by Badger Buses of Spooner, Inc. and was driven by Nathan Hoover, 43. He suffered non-life threatening injuries, and was released from the hospital.
The crash remains under investigation.
Meanwhile, Friday morning in California, a distracted gravel truck driver rear-ended a van carrying a team of community college athletes. California Highway Patrol officials said three vans full of cross country athletes from Saddleback College were stopped in traffic when the truck, traveling at about 40 miles per hour, hit the first van. The collision caused a domino effect, resulting in minor injuries to nine people and damage to two vans.
Nine people were treated for minor injuries on site and released, while others were taken to area hospitals.
Officials said the truck driver was not injured in the crash.