MONTICELLO, Minn. — A former school bus company manager has published a book on her experiences in dealing with a fatal school bus crash and the aftermath.
In “Unspoken Sorrow, Whispers From a Broken Heart,” Kari Hoglund Kounkel chronicles the events of a tragic accident in 1997, the response, and the shock and grief that consumed the victims and their loved ones as they struggled to cope.
On the morning of April 10, 1997, a gravel truck failed to yield for a stop sign and collided with a school bus just outside the small town of Monticello. Three young students and the truck driver died in the crash.
Kounkel, part of the management team with the bus company that owned and operated the school bus, found herself at the epicenter of it all. In the book, she shares the story of her battles in dealing with emotional and professional pressures in the aftermath of the crash. She aims to give readers a no-holds-barred account of the devastating toll that the tragedy took on her and her family; her subsequent struggles with substance abuse; and the trauma that led to the loss of her marriage and job, and, finally, to recovery and redemption.
Kounkel also discusses her crusade to ensure that the school bus industry learns the hard lessons that she did from the accident.
“I try to give my audience a first-person view of the catastrophic school bus crash and its aftermath,” Kounkel said. “I hope it will resonate with people who work in school transportation, people who are in recovery, and people who understand redemption.”
The book is available at Amazon.com and at her website, myunspokensorrow.com. Kounkel can also be booked for speaking engagements here.