Bus hits moose; no students aboard

Upon impact Tuesday morning, a dead moose sprayed feces down the door-side of a school bus that was beginning its pick-up route for Nikiski Middle and High School students, according to officials.

 

No students were on Bus 18 when the vehicle struck the moose, said Pegge Erkeneff, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District spokesperson.

Bus 18 hit the moose laying on the pavement at the corner of Poolside Avenue and Kenai Spur Highway at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Alaska State Trooper Marc Hendrickson said.

But the bus was not the vehicle that killed the moose, Alaska State Trooper Spokesperson Megan Peters said.

“It was kind of a weird chain of events, and we weren’t the first ones to hit the moose,” said Susan Reeves, location safety manager for First Student Inc., the company that owns and manages the school’s busses.

After striking and killing the moose in his white Ford F-350 a minute before Bus 18 hit the animal, Paul Johnson, 44, of Nikiski, turned onto Poolside Avenue and called police, Peters said.

A small sedan then hit the moose, Peters said.

When Bus 18 hit the moose, the animal dented its bumper and splattered feces down the passenger-side of the vehicle, Hendrickson said. “That was probably the most damage, trying to clean that off,” he said.

Who was driving the bus is unknown; First Student Inc. did not return an email or several phone calls as of deadline Tuesday. Vice Principal Bostic said First Student Inc. is responsible for those details, and Reeves said she could not comment further for the article.

In accidents, First Student Inc. is to call the affected school’s principal and the KPBSD transportation department, Erkeneff said. According to KPBSD policy manual for risk management, the school principal is then to call the KPBSD superintendent, Steven Atwater.

“But in this case, because no students were on the bus, it was just a bus delay,” Erkeneff said. She said Bostic, acting principal Tuesday, had no reason to call Atwater.

Busses 16 and 19 picked up Bus 18’s students, Erkeneff said.

Bostic said he knew few details of the incident and was unsure whether students were on the bus.

“We basically just wait for the kids to come to school,” he said.

Dan Schwartz can be reached at daniel.schwartz@peninsulaclarion.com.

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