Students, drivers injured in school bus accident

Updates earlier reports with new information about injuries and drivers' names.*

Several Lewis and Clark Middle School students were taken to local hospitals for treatment after a Friday morning accident involving their school bus.

School officials said school bus No. 47 driven by Leon Struemph, 47, of Jefferson City, was involved in an accident with a car about 7:30 a.m. at the southern intersection of Lewis and Clark Drive and Eastland Drive.

A Kia Sportage driven by Vanessa Higgins, 40, also of Jefferson City, was exiting the drive from the school, attempting to turn left onto northbound Eastland Drive, when it failed to yield to the southbound school bus, which then struck the driver’s side of the Sportage.

Higgins had moderate injuries and Struemph had minor injuries; both were transported via ambulance to a local hospital. Police report a total of 16 children on the bus suffered minor injuries.

Four students initially were taken by ambulance to local hospitals for evaluation, while the remaining 35 student passengers were taken to a common area at the school where health care staff interacted with them. Twelve others eventually were transported to hospitals by parents, police report. The remaining students were released to class.

School staff and First Student transportation officials contacted the parents of all students on the bus to let them know of the accident.

School officials said Lewis and Clark Principal Sherri Thomas and her staff followed all procedures and will continue to follow up with those who were on the bus.

Thomas later went to the hospital to check on the students.

*Editor's note: The story above was updated to reflect police report a total of 16 students receiving minor injuries. An initial police press release reported four initially were taken to hospitals, while others underwent evaluation at the school. Also, vehicles' direction of travel changed since the initial police statement because the final report treated Eastland (which meanders northeast to southwest on the compass) as a north-south street, instead of east-west.

Earlier report, posted at 2:12 p.m. Friday:

Four Lewis and Clark Middle School students were treated for minor injuries after a Friday morning accident involving the school bus they were riding in.

School officials said at approximately 7:30 a.m., school bus #47 was involved in an accident with a car near the intersection of Lewis and Clark Drive and Eastland Drive.

The school bus was traveling westbound on Eastland and collided with a Kia passenger vehicle as the Kia exited the drive from Lewis and Clark, attempting to turn eastbound on to Eastland Drive.

The driver of the Kia had moderate injuries and the driver of the school bus had minor injuries - both were transported via ambulance to a local hospital.

Police and school officials determined that three students needed to be taken to the hospital and they were transported by ambulance.

A fourth student was transported to the hospital by the parent.

The other 35 students were taken to a commons area at LCMS where a school nurse spoke with them.

Those students were then released to class.

School staff and First Student officials contacted the parents of all students on the bus to let them know of the accident.

School officials added that Lewis an Clark Principal Sherri Thomas and her staff followed all procedures and will continue to follow-up with those who were on the bus.

Thomas later went to the hospital to check on the students.

Initial coverage:

Police are investigating a traffic accident that involved a Jefferson City school bus and another vehicle on Eastland Drive near Lewis and Clark Middle School.

The incident occurred around 7:35 a.m.

School officials said police were still working on what caused the accident, but said about 35-40 students were on the bus at the time.

The driver and three students were treated for minor injuries.

The students were taken to local hospital by their parents to get treatment.

The rest of the students were taken to school and checked out by the school nurse and school officials said they appeared to be OK.

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