A school bus carrying high school volleyball players in western Wisconsin struck a car that ran a stop sign, killing a mother and her young daughter in the smaller vehicle, and ended up partly submerged in a ditch, authorities said.
The crash occurred shortly before 2:30 p.m. Saturday, north of Cumberland at Hwy. 63 and County Hwy. B in Barron County, according to the State Patrol.
There were 16 people on the bus, including the driver, the Spooner High School volleyball team’s head coach and her players. The patrol said all exited through the bus’ back door, then were treated at Cumberland Memorial Hospital and released.
Killed in the car were the driver, Tiffany Hostetler, 29, of Rice Lake, Wis., and 3-year-old daughter Elenora Hutton, the patrol said. The car’s surviving passenger, Hostetler’s 5-year-old son Marshall Hutton, was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. He was later released.
The car was heading west on County Hwy. B, when it “failed to stop” for the northbound bus on Hwy. 63 and was hit on the driver’s side, according to the patrol.
The volleyball team was about halfway home from a scrimmage earlier Saturday in Amery, about 50 miles south of Spooner.
“It all happened so fast,” Spooner head coach Melissa Smith said Sunday. “The front end, where I was, was filling up with water” from what the coach described as “a low swamp.” Smith said she directed the players “to get off the bus immediately. … They didn’t stop for their stuff” as they went out the back.
“They were holding each other on the side of the road,” the third-year coach said. “I’m a faith-believing person, as is a lot of the team. They relied on the Lord to give them peace, but most of it they relied on each other.”
The players were a bit sore from the bumpy ride into the ditch, Smith said, but otherwise came away unscathed. The bus driver was identified by the patrol as Nathan Hover, 43, of Trego, Wis.