Montague school bus crashes into downed tree in whiteout

(WZZM) A Montague Public School bus crashed into a tree that fell across a road Friday morning.
Becky Vargo
Dec 21, 2012



 The bus hit the tree that was laying across Scenic Driver near Winston Road at about 8 a.m. Deputies with the Oceana County Sheriff's Office said that the driver was not able to see the tree due to white out conditions.

The bus was badly damaged, but the driver and six passengers on board were not hurt.

Another bus from Montague took the students to school. The driver is not being cited for the crash.

The district sent out this message to parents:

This is Montague Area Public Schools Superintendent Nathan Robrahn. Early this morning one of our buses encountered a downed tree in Claybanks Township. Due to the snowy conditions and slippery road, the bus was unable to stop and ran into the tree. Fortunately, the driver and the six elementary students on board are all fine. They required no medical treatment. A second bus brought them to the school. We are thankful that they arrived safely and are enjoying the day with their teachers and friends. Our staff members have talked personally with the parents of each of these students. If you have any questions, please contact our office. Thank you. 



That much damage... In a white-out... With students on the bus?!? Looks like the driver was not driving an appropriate speed for the road conditions.


Or maybe they were driving at the appropriate speed and couldn't stop? Buses happen to weigh a lot so they can be difficult to stop quickly. Also, trees are very heavy, so when the those two objects meet they are likely to cause damage.

Moral of the story, you have no clue if the driver was or was not driving the appropriate speed but you take advantage of anonymous forum to accuse a driver of being unsafe, when in reality, you have no facts to support it.


If the driver could not stop within sight distance, they should have been going slower. What if there was a person, fuel truck, or a van full of a family stopped in the road before that tree? Drivers need to keep their vehicle under control and able to stop within sight distance at all times. This time it was just a tree, but God only knows what else may have been just out of vision in that white-out.


Chambers, you're a Monday morning quarterback


Sorry but I must agree with Tchambers, it does look like the vehicle was driving too fast for a white-out condition, just look at the damage done to the bus. Anytime you are driving with children, other people children and are in charged of a school bus. You will drive with caution and as a defensive driver I hope that the school and/or state police will investigate the accident. If nothing is found, then nothing is found but our children deserve the best drivers, and experience drivers, period.


It was white out conditions, meaning the driver couldn't see. The driver probably didn't see the tree, therefore wasnt able to slow down, so probably hit it going 15,20,25 miles an hour, which will cause damage.

My point is, neither of you know, but you post an opinion which is not based on fact, evidence, just your opinion on the matter- Which is not fair to the driver who you are accusing of being un-safe. Due process.


So you are telling me that you drive blindly through white-outs without a care in the world?

It is actually in the CDL literature that drivers must study before they get their license that you must drive in a manner where you are able to stop within sight distance at all times.

You don't seem to get the point that the bus driver needs to be driving safely. If the driver could only see 40' in front of the bus, they NEED to be driving at a speed which they can stop that bus within 40'.

Like I said, what if there was a car who (safely) came upon the tree and stopped unable to proceed? That bus driver could have easily wiped out an entire family, or injured the passengers on the bus. What if that was your family stopped at that tree, and a bus comes barreling into your car, killing your family, all because of a careless bus driver?

Something tells me either LakerVille is the bus driver in question, knows the bus driver, or works for the school district.

15, 20, 25mph is far too fast to be driving if it was a true white-out like the driver said, especially with as much mass as that bus has.


I guess there is nothing in life that is an unavoidable accident - blame must be assigned - only in the present day American mind can people not understand that Spit Happens.

Could it be possible that the Government mandated CDL requirements could be wrong, and that nobody should drive when we had such terrible conditions as today? Of course not, and it's amazing that people drove in Michigan winters for many decades before CDL requirements were a twinkle in the eyes of bureaucrats.

Between bureaucrats and lawyers, it's amazing that folks will even consider driving, much less starting a business and hiring people!


Oh my just did it again!


Can you be anymore pompus? Seriously!

any one that knows the mechanics of the combustion engine must know that even without applying gas a vehicle can still be traveling forward after the operator takes their foot off the gas...and more often than not between the speeds of 15,20,25 mph....compound that factor with a vehicle weighing many thousands of pounds more than a the forward momentum factor is far greater than a car....compound that factor with the term 'white out' (which means UNABLE TO SEE BECAUSE OF SNOW).... AND add to all that the years of education of driving on slippery roads that clearly tell us to apply the brakes slowly and not stomp on them....thus creating another factor contributing to running into the tree instead of avoiding it.

I would dearly love to see YOU try driving a bus in a white out condition on slippery roads and avoid the same scenario. Unless you were driving the bus or riding on the bus...for you to make the comments from the sidelines and after that fact that the bus driver "needs to be driving safely" or that "LakerVille is the drive in question" is simple defamation and uneducated postering.


spelling correction....postering is supposed to be posturing....


The result of a school bus and a tree meeting at the wrong time at the wrong place leads to shooting from the hip, jwalking, going five over, or just complaining when about to be hung with a new rope.


They call it an accident because it was nobody's fault! The driver was not cited by police, everybody is ok; who could ask for anything more. I used to care but I take a pill for that now and am over medicated for your safety. Please try to contribute something meaningful to these discussions as opposed to being the judge and jury.

Dear Karma, I have a list of people you missed!

common cents

"used to care but I take a pill for that now and am over medicated for your safety." :)


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