A teenager on her way home from classes with a schoolmate lost control of her car on a slick highway in southern Minnesota and died in a collision with a school bus heading the other way with dozens of children aboard, authorities said.
The crash involving a Southland School District bus occurred about 3:15 p.m. Wednesday on Hwy. 56 near Adams in Mower County, according to the State Patrol.
Killed was Tess M. Landherr, 16, of Rose Creek, Minn., the patrol said. Hospitalized in Rochester with serious injuries was her passenger, Anna B. Bruggeman, also of Rose Creek. Both of the girls, students at Southland High School in Adams, were wearing their seat belts.
One student on the elementary school bus among the 47, an 8-year-old girl, was slightly hurt and taken to Austin for treatment, the patrol said. The bus driver, Kim A. Bissen, of Rose Creek, was unhurt.
The car was heading northwest on Hwy. 56, away from the high school, when it collided with the bus, the patrol said.
District Superintendent Steve Sallee said the girls were making their usual 7-mile drive home from school, a day just like any other, except "the roads were a little bit slick. That would be the only difference."
Then, for reasons not yet known and about 3 miles from the school, the car crossed into the bus' path and collided. "I understand there was some drifting snow" in the area, Salle said.
"You come up over a hill; it's a bad spot that people know about," but one that the teens were familiar with, he added.
The bus had modest front-end damage, while the car was mangled and ended up many feet from the shoulder.
Landherr was a junior and was on the dance team. She also was involved in band, volleyball and softball in the district of about 500 students. Bruggeman, a sophomore, is in treble choir and involved in basketball and volleyball.
The bus from Rose Creek Elementary was heading southeast on Hwy. 56 to the middle school in Adams, where students get on a second bus and head to their homes in the expansive district, Sallee said.
The superintendent was relieved that there was only one minor injury among the many students on the bus.
"It really says something about bus safety," he said. "It sounds like every kid was in their seat and doing what they were supposed to be doing."