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Cross Country Faces Fatal Collision

On a way to their meet, the team faces a crash on the highway

  A fatal crash happened on Oct. 27, 2023 that included our cross country team. The crash happened at 11:30 a.m. on M-115 near 5th avenue in Osceola county after a tree fell and blocked most of the roadway, causing traffic to back up. State police said that the charter bus carrying the kids struck a Buick enclave, which was pushed into a guardrail and sideswiped by a tractor-trailer truck. The bus then crossed the centerline and struck the guardrail and the oncoming vehicle. 

  The person in the Buick was transported to the hospital, where they were pronounced dead. A dog was also seen on the site and was pronounced dead as well. 

  The cross country bus was on route to Shepard, MI to compete in the Division 1 Regional Championship meet. After the crash happened some of the kids were checked out then parents and guardians were notified by coaches and the athletic department staff. 

  The students were then either picked up by Marion Public schools bus and taken the rest of the way to Shepard for the regional meet, or taken home by their parents. The head coach of the cross country team said that it was their choice if they wanted to run or just go home and rest.  

  Some students say that the bus driver dropped his hearing aid and had to pick it up, not seeing the traffic when he went down. When he came back up the traffic was present and couldn’t stop fast enough so they crashed with the cars in front of them.

  Grace Finch is a freshman runner on the cross country team and was on the bus when the accident happened. 

  “We weren’t even half way there yet and it was super quiet because everyone was really relaxed. Then all the sudden we were going on a highway and it was kind of dark and the bus swerved to the side and everyone started screaming. Then there was like a big thump, and glass flew everywhere and it really only hit the front of the bus, and I was sitting right in the front, like three seats in. There was also glass everywhere so we really couldn’t sit down for a while. We had to wait until everyone else was safe and we had to climb out the window on a ladder because of how much glass there was,” Finch said. 

  The students claim that the kids in front were affected more because the bus rear-ended the car. Finch was sitting three seats back and said she didn’t feel well enough to run that day so she went home. She also said that the most memorable part was the swerving to the side because of how sudden it all was. 

  “Well it’s hard to remember what happened, but I think I was watching a show or something and I heard the bus driver scream, then I heard the coach scream, then I heard Grace [Finch] scream. Then there was this loud bang and some people fell on the ground, then there was a bunch of glass everywhere. Then I kinda felt the bus tip a little so I thought we were gonna flip which was scary. Then we just stopped and no one really said anything for a while and we were all kind of all shoken up I guess. Then we all had to go to the back of the bus and they called the ambulance or something. We all sat there for like 20 minutes then we called our parents,” freshman Bridget Raven said. “It was the girls that got impacted the most because they were sitting near the front. Then they eventually got someone to get us and got a ladder to climb out the window because there was too much glass by the front to walk through. So we waited out near the road for someone to come let us and it was weird because we saw the car that got hit and how badly it had gotten hit. Then some people said they saw the dog, I guess getten taken out of the car but I didn’t see it. I ended up racing, but I was in the open race so it was really stressful for me but they told us if you don’t wanna race you don’t have to.”

  Everyone on the bus, including the students and staff members, are safe and weren’t seriously injured. 

  “The memorable part was Grace’s screaming because it was really scary because it didn’t feel real at first until I realized what was going on and her screams. I wasn’t looking up but she was so I guess she saw it coming,” Finch said. 

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About the Contributor
Olivia Kandow
Olivia Kandow, Social Media Specialist
Oliva Kandow is a freshman here at west senior high. She signed up for the newspaper because of her love for writing and interest in journalism. Olivia is also on the Jv volleyball team here at west and plays as a middle on the team.  Outside of school she loves hanging out with family, playing with her dogs at the lake, paddleboarding, shopping, and sports.

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