Sheriff: Bus driver disregarded stop sign, causing crash that injured West Bend students

KEWASKUM -- A school bus crash involving the West Bend High School bowling team sent three students and the bus driver to the hospital Monday night, Dec. 10. The team was on the way home from a competition in Campbellsport at the time of the crash, which also involved a pickup truck.

Eight athletes, one coach and the bus driver were on board when the bus left the road. Photos from the scene show the school bus at the bottom of a ditch.

"We never want to go through that. We don't want to put parents through that," said Don Kirkegaard, superintendent of the West Bend School District.

The crash happened around 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Crash involving school bus and pickup truck near Kewaskum

"Bus accidents, for a superintendent, is one of the things that make you feel extremely uncomfortable because the potential for a serious accident is always there," said Kirkegaard.

Kirkegaard said the three students taken to the hospital Monday night were treated and released.

"It's always a good feeling to know that it wasn't more serious than it could have been," said Kirkegaard.

According to the Washington County Sheriff's Office, the bus was southbound on County Road V when it collided with the truck.

In a statement, Washington County Sheriff Dale Schmidt said the bus driver, a 63-year-old from West Bend, was also taken to the hospital, but his injuries did not appear serious.

"One of our athletic directors met the parents and the students at the hospital and was there while they were being checked out," said Kirkegaard.

Superintendent Kirkegaard said accidents like this are very rare and the district is taking this very seriously.

Don Kirkegaard

"Always a huge concern when you have a bus accident," Kirkegaard said.

Washington County officials said an investigation determined the bus driver disregarded the stop sign at Highway 45, and in turn, caused the crash. Speed also appears to have been a factor, officials said.

The crash remains under investigation.