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Bolivar school bus crash injures students and staff


Bolivar R-1 students and staff were injured in a school bus crash around 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 18 south of Bolivar.

A social media post from Bolivar Schools said that the bus was northbound on Mo. 13 and East 490th Road, returning to Bolivar after a field trip for two third-grade classes. The bus had been following a truck that was pulling a trailer, when a hay bale fell off of the trailer and into the roadway.

According to police reports, the bus hit the bale, crossed through the median, drove across the southbound lane of Mo. 13, and came to a stop in the ditch along the roadway.

The bus had significant damage, the social media post stated.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Central Polk County Fire Protection District, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Polk County Emergency Management, Polk County Central Dispatch, Citizens Memorial Hospital, CMH Emergency Medical Services, Mercy Emergency Medical Services, and Bolivar R-1 Schools provided assistance during the aftermath of the crash. The occupants of the bus evacuated from the vehicle, as emergency responders reported to the scene to transport the injured to the hospital and divert traffic.

Non-injured students were reunited with their parents and guardians at the Bolivar Schools Central Office, and the school district communicated with parents to arrange reunification with injured children.

According to the Bolivar Police Department, 35 people were on the bus at the time of the crash. Of the 19 people who were injured, 17 were children and two were adults.

“We are so thankful for the response that EMS, 911, CMH, and other volunteers provided responding to our bus accident,” said Dr. Richard Asbill, superintendent of Bolivar R-1 School District. “Our students’ and teachers' safety is our top priority, and we are grateful for the prayers and thoughts provided to our students and teachers during this time. The cooperation and support from EMS, 911, CMH, and our parents allowed us to get medical attention to students and teachers quickly.”

The following day, on Friday, May 19, Bolivar Intermediate School provided extra counselors who were available to offer support for students who were affected by the crash.