(Update: OSP cites driver for careless driving)
La PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) – Oregon State Police released details Monday of Friday morning’s three-vehicle crash on state Highway 31 south of La Pine, saying a Bend man failed to stop for a stopped Bend-La Pine school bus, then tried to pass it when he rear-ended the school bus and also struck an oncoming car. He's been cited for careless driving.
The Bend man was injured and taken to the hospital, while one of the six students on the bus also was taken to the hospital with reported neck pain.
OSP and other first responders were called at 8:17 a.m. to the crash near milepost 1 of the highway in Deschutes County, troopers said.
A preliminary investigation found that a 60-year-old Sunriver man was driving the southbound school bus and stopped along its route to pick up students. A 54-year-old La Pine man driving a northbound Honda Civic had stopped for the flashing lights and stop sign of the school bus, troopers said.
A 26-year-old Bend man, driving a Ford Expedition southbound “at highway speeds, failed to stop for the school bus and then attempted to pass the school bus when it collided with the rear of the school bus and front of the Honda,” the OSP report said.
The Expedition’s driver and a juvenile passenger from the school bus were taken to the hospital with injuries. All three vehicles were towed from the scene of the crash, which blocked Highway 31 for a time.
Court records show the driver who struck the other vehicles was cited Saturday for careless driving, a Class A violation, faces a presumptive fine of $440 and is due in court for arraignment on Oct. 18.
Six secondary students at La Pine Middle and High Schools were aboard the bus, along with the driver, school district Director of Communications Scott Maben said Friday.
One student reported neck pain and was being taken to St. Charles Bend for evaluation, Maben said. The others were transported to school and had support and counseling services available.
All six students were in the bus and none outside, Maben said.
Maben said the crash points to two safety points regarding school buses: "They are built to withstand this sort of impact and keep passengers safe. Students are seated above the impact zone and cushioned between high-back padded seats."
However, Maben added, "Too often we see drivers ignoring or neglecting to watch for the flashing red lights and extended stop arm. We have drivers who fly by, even when students are waiting at stops to step on the bus or crossing the street to or from the bus."
He said the school district "tries to share that message," such as on social media, "but still have problems."