Cool heads prevail in school bus accident

By KIRBY NEUMANN-REA

News staff writer

November 29, 2006

Six children and the driver were unhurt in a dramatic school bus accident Tuesday morning at Oak and 13th streets.

Bus driver Bobbi Reisner tried to stop coming down 13th but the bus slid through the intersection just after 9 a.m., and Reisner somehow missed a semi truck stopped at the intersection and steered the bus through a narrow space between the Prater’s Motel sign and a street sign, and missed hitting the east end of the motel.

The bus went into the ravine after knocking aside two dumpsters, ending tipped on its front.

“She really threaded the needle,” said witness Garth Harding of Hood River, who said he saw Reisner slide through the intersection.

“I thought for sure she was going to take out my car and hit the motel. It was amazing.”

With the help of passers-by, the children got out of the bus and were taken inside the motel office. School was on two-hour late schedule Tuesday, after being closed all day Monday.

“The kids stayed really calm,” said Richard Hallman of Hood River, who was having coffee a block away at Acre Coffee and ran to help.

“It was kind of scary, especially since I was in the front seat,” said fifth-grader Zach Tecklenburg.

“The first thing they said was, ‘Are you okay, Bobbi?’” said Reisner, who has driven bus for more than 30 years. “They all followed my safety instructions,” she said.

Prater’s Manager Debbie Schroeder took in Reisner and the kids until another bus could come for the children.

“I saw her coming. It was so icy. I could tell she was trying to come to a stop but she just couldn’t,” Shroeder said.

“I guess that’s what comes from driving (bus) for Mt. Hood Meadows,” Reisner said.

According to police, the accident is still under investigation.

Traffic at Oak and 13th was interrupted for about two-and-a-half hours, until 11:30 a.m., as tow trucks worked to pull the bus from the ravine. Damage to the bus appeared limited primarily to the baggage section, but some front-end damage is possible, according to Jim Gray, district transportation manager.

The hill was not the only slippery on in the area. The Frankton grade west of Hood River proved nearly impassable late Tuesday morning until sanders made another run up the hill.

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