The Nebraska State Patrol, withassistance of the Webster County Sheriff's office, has determined thateach driver involved in the accident involving a Blue Hill school bus and semi-truck shares some level of responsibility in the outcomeof the crash.
The agencies conducted an accident reconstruction for the accident that killed four and injured five others.
"The investigation indicated that both vehicles entered theintersection at approximately the same time," said Sara Bockstadter, WebsterCounty Attorney. "The investigation revealed that both drivers had an unobstructedview of the roadway and the opportunity to see each other."
The crash occurred just before 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, Sept.5, when the school bus and semi hauling hay, collided at the intersection ofCounty Road "R" and 1800 Road, south of the community of Blue Hill. As a resultof the impact, both vehicles caught fire. The fire destroyed data recordingequipment in both vehicles, hampering the ability to determine the speed atwhich either vehicle was traveling.
The driver of the semi did not have a ClassA Commercial Driver's License required to operate the vehicle he wasdriving. The driver of the bus failed to statutorily yield the right ofway to the semi on her right. Both issues were identified as possiblecontributing factors in the crash. Drugs and alcohol were not involved in thecrash.
Sara Bockstadter said, "This has been an extremely difficulttime for all of us. While we continue to grieve the loss of our family membersand friends, we would like to thank everyone who has reached out to ourcommunity to provide comfort and support."
Thecrash claimed the lives of Travis Witte, 21, Blue Hill, Marla Wentworth, 59,Red Cloud, Dustin Tesdahl, 18, Blue Hill and Caroline Thallman, 10, Blue Hill.Five other students riding the bus were injured.