stock school bus

RUPERT — The driver of a truck that hit a Minidoka County school bus with eight students on board last month has been cited for following too closely, the sheriff’s office said.

The Minidoka County Sheriff’s Office on Friday released its report on the Jan. 28 crash.

John Tate Hansen was driving a 1995 Kenworth tractor pulling a white farm trailer registered to Hansen Quality Jerseys, police say, when he ran into the back of the school bus driven by Jacqueline Ruth Larson.

A mirror on the passenger’s side of the truck went through the driver’s side windows of the bus and hit a girl in the head. She was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Another student was later taken to the hospital by her mother.

Hansen told police he was driving north on Meridian Road near 400 North when the school bus pulled out in front of him, and he did not have time to stop. Hansen said he did not know what his speed was at the time of the crash because the speedometer in the truck was broken. The truck was not loaded at the time of the crash.

Hansen said he saw the bus pull up to the stop sign, stop very briefly, then pull out in front of him.

Larson said she was eastbound on 400 North when she stopped at the stop sign at Meridian Road. She told police she did not see anyone approaching from either direction. She turned north on Meridian and was preparing to drop a student off and had activated the yellow warning lights when the bus was hit.

Hazel Marriott, an aide on the bus, said she saw the yellow warning lights activate on the overhead display prior to the crash and had pointed it out to the student next to her.

After officers performed several crash scene reconstruction calculations, they determined that if Hansen had been going the posted speed limit of 55 mph or slower, he would have had more than enough time and distance to “perceive the threat and slow or stop prior to the collision,” the report reads.

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