At least four people were injured on Friday night as a Rimrock Stages bus ferried the West High female basketball team home from a game in Miles City. Authorities say that the bus ran off I-94 around 11:30 p.m. by mile marker 36. The bus was carrying about two dozen junior varsity and freshmen players, the team coach and three assistant coaches.
This accident may be attributable to driver negligence. It appears that the driver attempted to cover her legs with her coat shortly before the time of the crash and lost control of the bus. The bus veered into the median and then bus driver overcorrected and spun the bus. The bus landed in a ditch, but fortunately did not roll. Bus accidents involving rolling typically involve serious personal injuries and fatalities.
"The bus ended up in the ditch in about 4 foot of snow," the school district superintendent said.
A few of the students were tossed from their seats as items from the overhead storage flew onto them.
"At first everyone was pretty shaken up, there definitely were girls who were scared," one basketball player said. "After we realized everyone made it out OK, with just minor injuries, then it was a waiting period."
Emergency crews responded to the scene and took the bus driver, one assistant coach and two players to nearby hospitals. Authorities say that everyone was treated for minor personal injuries and released. It is unclear whether any personal injury lawsuits will arise out of this crash to cover the medical expenses incurred as a result of the bus driver's alleged negligence.
The crash is still under investigation and the bus company said that it is cooperating with authorities.
Source: Billings Gazette, "Bus carrying West High girls basketball team runs off I-94; 4 injured," Susan Olp, Jan. 28, 2012