On Sept. 5, a Blue Hill Community School District bus and a semi-truck and trailer collided, claiming four lives injuring five others. After a thorough investigation and accident reconstruction by the Nebraska State Patrol with assistance from the Webster County Sheriff’s office, each driver appears to share responsibility for the crash, officials said Thursday.
“The investigation indicated that both vehicles entered the intersection at approximately the same time,” Webster County Attorney Sara Bockstadter said. “The investigation revealed that both drivers had an unobstructed view of the roadway and the opportunity to see each other.”
The crash occurred just before 5 p.m., when the school bus and semi loaded with ha, collided at a rural intersection -- County Road “R” and 1800 Road south of Blue Hill.
Both vehicles caught fire.
The semi-truck driver did not have a Class A Commercial Driver’s License, which was required to operate the truck.
The bus driver failed to statutorily yield the right of way to the semi on her right, State Patrol Spokeswoman Deb Collins said.
The fire destroyed data-recording equipment in both vehicles, hampering the ability of investigators to determine the speed of either vehicle.
Drugs and alcohol were not involved in the crash, Collins said.
Sara Bockstadter said, “This has been an extremely difficult time for all of us. While we continue to grieve the loss of our family members and friends, we would like to thank everyone who has reached out to our community to provide comfort and support.”
The crash 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.