Seven students suffered minor injuries Friday afternoon when their school bus and a pickup truck collided in St. Paul.
The bus, which was carrying 34 students from Highland Park Middle School and Highland Park High School, ran across a lawn and crashed into the concrete stoop of a nearby home near E. Geranium Avenue and N. Weide Street. The truck landed on its passenger side next to the home.
“We believe the truck driver failed to yield the right of way to the bus, causing the [collision],” said Sgt. Mike Ernster, a St. Paul police spokesman.
Kenneth Highley was having a late lunch at his dining room table when a loud crash outside brought him to his feet.
The part-time pastor at Randolph Heights Presbyterian Church walked to the front of his house and opened the first door, where he saw a big yellow school bus headed straight for his mud porch.
“I thought, ‘Not my porch!’ ” Highley recalled later.
The bus crashed into the stoop outside and damaged the railing, door and window to his mud porch.
Highley, who has lived on the southeast corner of Geranium and Weide for five years, said drivers often speed through or fail to fully stop at the intersection. He’s witnessed about six car crashes at the corner, including one last winter that took out a light post.
“It’s crazy, the number of near misses,” he said.
The crash occurred about 2:45 p.m. as the bus was traveling east on Geranium Avenue and the truck was headed south on Weide. Stop signs are posted on Weide only.
Police said they are investigating whether the truck driver stopped and then pulled into the intersection, or whether he ignored the stop sign altogether. He cooperated with authorities at the scene.
Alcohol, drugs and speed do not appear to have been factors, Ernster said.
The injured students were taken to area hospitals for bumps, bruises, stiffness and soreness. “The transports were done out of precaution,” Ernster said.
The other students were picked up by family members or put on another bus, school officials said. Neither driver was injured.
“While accidents do happen, we are fortunate that, from initial reports, all those involved appear to OK,” said Jackie Turner, chief operating officer for St. Paul schools. “We’d like to thank our first responders for the fast care and attention they provided to our students.”
On Monday, nurses at both schools will check in with all students who were on the bus, she said.
Staff writer Mary Lynn Smith contributed to this report.