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August 09, 2010  |   Comments (1)   |   Post a comment

District, communities respond to Missouri bus crash


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ST. JAMES, Mo. — Classes will begin at St. James School District this Thursday, one week after a crash involving two school buses took the lives of two teenagers. 

“At this time, it is hard to imagine returning to our regular daily lives. Certainly, as a community, the days ahead will be filled with emotions that will weigh heavily on all of us.  At the same time, this community has an expectation of the schools. The same families that we hold hands with and mourn with are the same families who expect us to be strong and to do our jobs by providing the students of this community the education they deserve,” St. James Superintendent Joy Tucker said in a statement.

Tucker went on to say that the district will provide students, staff and families with support and counseling. 

“Additional counselors from neighboring communities have offered their support, as have professionals from our area, and we will make them available to those who need them. Ultimately, we assure our families that we will continue to provide a safe, caring environment in which our students may learn,” she said.
 
To further support those affected by the crash, the St. James School District’s Parent, Teacher, Community Organization will sponsor a spaghetti dinner/silent auction on Aug. 21.

The funds raised will go to the families of the crash victims — 15-year-old Jessica Brinker, who attended a high school at the district, and 19-year-old Daniel Schatz of Sullivan, Mo. — and those who were severely injured. 

Community members in St. James and Sullivan gathered last Friday to honor the memories of Brinker and Schatz. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a vigil was held for Schatz at Sullivan High School where he had excelled as a quarterback on the football team.

A service was held for Brinker at St. James United Methodist Church. 

As SBF previously reported, last Thursday’s crash involved a tractor trailer cab, two school buses and a pickup truck. The buses were taking high school band members to a Six Flags amusement park when the collision occurred.

In addition to the deaths of Brinker and Schatz, 55 people were injured in the incident, the Missouri State Highway Patrol reports.


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I don't know all of the facts but I am having a hard time tring to understand why the two school busses were close enough to allow this situation to occur. I have seen and been in quite a few situations where ther were several busses, going from the same point "A", to the same point "B". Part of our bus training, whether School Bus or Transit Bus, is to always allow enough room to stop if need be in a hurry and when an operator stops, to do so in a fashion to allow the second and successive busses enough room to get around the lead bus if for some reason, it became disabled. Allowing, that little extra space, has saved my bacon and that of my riders, over the years, when I found myself a little short of stopping space, including emergency stops. Please, let me re-iterate, that I do not know all the facts in this situation but it seems to me that most of the vehicles involved, were way to close to one another. I have been driving school busses off and on for nearly 48 years and transit busses for nearly 25 years. Managers, occasionally, come out and follow and observe drivers, in the field, doing their jobs and make note of little infractions or safety issues and just bring them to the operators attention. Sometimes, a bad habit just needs to be brought to a drivers attention for them to realize that they are practicing it. I, certainly hope that I am not jinxing myself, by bringing out these driver qualities that should be occasionally checked, even by other drivers. Thanks, so much, and always sorry to read about acidents such as these where people are not only hurt but worse, are killed. School Bus Drivers are a rare breed. Nearly all of the drivers I know, personally, drive school children because they love the job and the children they transport. May God Bless the children and The Drivers.

Herbert O. James, Jr.    |    Aug 14, 2010 02:52 AM

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