Buses collide; 9 sent to hospital

Posted: Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Nine students were taken to the hospital Tuesday, after two Laidlaw school buses collided on Redoubt Avenue and Sterling Street near Soldotna Middle School.

The accident occurred after a Laidlaw bus driven by James A. Ulricksen, 30, of Soldotna, rear ended a second Laidlaw bus driven by Vernon H. Brown, 64, of Kenai.

As of 4:09 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, hospital personnel found only slight injuries on the nine students brought to the Central Peninsula General Hospital emergency room, said Camille Sorensen, a marketing specialist for CPGH.

According to the Soldotna Police Department, injuries ranged from a bloody nose to sprained necks.

At the time of the accident, students from both Soldotna Middle and Soldotna High schools were riding the buses. The nine students taken to the hospital had been riding on both buses.

Fifteen students were riding on the bus driven by Ulricksen and eight were riding the bus driven by Brown.

Just before the accident occurred, Ulricksen was looking in the rear view mirror to check on the students on the bus, said Soldotna Police Officer Tony Garcia.

“And when he looked to the road, he realized the bus in front of him had stopped and he was unable to avoid rear ending the bus,” he said.

Garcia, who responded to the scene of the accident, said the students who had been on the bus appeared to be more bewildered than distraught.

Damage to the buses was minimal, and Ulricksen was issued a citation for failure to exercise due care to avoid a collision.

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