A Moffat County School District bus crashed this morning into the baseball field behind Craig Middle School, 915 Yampa Ave., knocking down a light fixture and taking out part of the outfield fence. Jerry Delong, a Craig Police Department captain, said the female driver was the only person in the bus at the time of the crash. She has been transported to The Memorial Hospital in Craig for treatment.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

A Moffat County School District bus crashed this morning into the baseball field behind Craig Middle School, 915 Yampa Ave., knocking down a light fixture and taking out part of the outfield fence. Jerry Delong, a Craig Police Department captain, said the female driver was the only person in the bus at the time of the crash. She has been transported to The Memorial Hospital in Craig for treatment.

School bus crashes into baseball field behind CMS

71-year-old driver was also at the wheel in May 2011 crash

A Moffat County School District bus crashed Monday morning, knocking down a light fixture in the baseball field at Craig Middle School, 915 Yampa Ave., before the bus came to a halt.

The accident occurred around 8 a.m. Monday after bus driver Patricia Hering, 71, dropped CMS students off at the main building before starting her normal route back to the bus garage north of the school.

Bryan Gonzalez, a Craig Police Department corporal, said as Hering drove the bus back to the garage, she rear-ended the bus in front of her before heading in a northwest direction into the field behind the baseball diamond.

The Craig Police Department received the call at 8:07 a.m.

“As the bus approached the baseball field, it hit a light pole and ran over about 93 feet of chain link fence,” Gonzalez said. “When we arrived, the bus was straddling the fence and the light pole was knocked over.”

Jerry DeLong, a Craig Police Department captain, said the bus clipped a fence, sideswiped a building and hit a trash receptacle between rear-ending the other bus and crashing onto the baseball field.

Gonzalez said a private party transported Hering to The Memorial Hospital in Craig before he arrived at the scene and her injuries were not serious.

Hering was the only passenger in the bus at the time of the crash.

Police are investigating the cause of the accident and hope to have the investigation done today.

In May 2011, Hering was driving a school bus that crashed south of Craig, carrying three students.

Superintendent Joe Petrone said whether Hering remains a driver for the school district is a personnel matter and he could not comment.

“First and foremost, we want to make sure everyone is safe, and everyone has been checked out and I have been assured everyone is safe,” Petrone said. “We are looking into property damage and working on getting the fence around the baseball field back up, but we do not want to get in the way of the ongoing police investigation.”

Petrone said if a new light fixture needs to be purchased, it would not be done so immediately.

Jeff Simon, school district athletic director, said the Moffat County High School baseball games scheduled for Thursday and Saturday are still scheduled to be played at the CMS baseball field, with Thursday’s game being moved up to 4 p.m. to avoid needing lights.

Comments

David Moore 1 year, 12 months ago

First of all, I sincerely hope she is ok and wish her a speedy recovery.

Daily Press quoted Superintendent Joe Petrone as saying, "whether Hering remains a driver for the school district is a personnel matter and he could not comment." No disrespect intended whatsoever, but this is not only a personnel matter, it has now become a personal matter. This is my daughter's and all her friends' bus driver, and after two crashes, one with kids on board, I feel it is time, at 71 years of age, for her to enjoy retirement and not drive a bus anymore.

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j4mom7 1 year, 12 months ago

Amen to that, Dave. I 100% agree with you. Two accidents in less than 12 months is not acceptable with our kids on board, even if in this one the bus was empty. If there is a medical problem here, I am truly sorry for her, and I understand that in the current economy, sometimes one has to work longer than they wanted to, but at this point in time it seems as if it's time for Ms. Hering to reconsider her options and try to find employment that doesn't involve vehicles if she still needs or wants to work. I'm glad no one was hurt and I wish her the best for the future.

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kathim 1 year, 12 months ago

I hope Pat will be ok.

With that being said... This is not just an administrative matter. This is a matter of the daily safety of no less than 30 children. When will enough be enough? After a wreck that actually kills someone?

My 3 oldest children were unfortunatly on the bus that she smashed into a tree last year. I am STILL dealing with the reprucussions of that accident. the dental issues, the daily anxiety of having to ride the bus, and then there are the nightmares.

I know the economy is rough, and I can admire the fact that someone is willing to work to pay their bills. But She should consider surrendering her CDL and finding another career, preferably one that does not involve driving children in large vehicles.

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David Moore 1 year, 12 months ago

kathim, I am very sorry that you are still dealing with the after effects of the accident, my heart goes out to you and your kids. If the superintendent has any regard at all, he will retire this driver. It won't matter for my daughter anyway, I have instructed her not to get on the bus if she is driving, I will get her to school.

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kathim 1 year, 12 months ago

Davidmoore,

Thank you.

I hope that the superintendant will come to his senses and retires this driver.

I have done the same, I told my girls not to get on the bus if she is behind the wheel. I will gladly drive them to and from school to ensure their safe arrival.

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Brian Kotowski 1 year, 12 months ago

I wouldn't be so quick to rush to judgement. It may be she's too old. On the other hand, my 76-yr old dad is as healthy as a proverbial horse, and would be entirely trustworthy behind the wheel, if he chose. People should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Captain Sullenberger was just a year from mandatory retirement when he landed that jetliner in the Hudson River.

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Jason Phillips 1 year, 12 months ago

Brian - get a clue. No one is discriminating based solely on age - this woman has two accidents behind the wheel of the bus. Common sense tells us she is not qualified to continue on the job, regardless of age, race or gender.

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David Moore 1 year, 12 months ago

I am not discriminating because of her age, although it may very well be a factor in her driving ability. Not only did she tear down 95 feet of fence, but the pole knocked over was not your ordinary light pole, it is one of those tall ones that holds the lighting for the baseball field, which tells me she hit it pretty hard. We are talking about the safety of children here, not discrimination against an older bus driver. At 75, when I was 10, my grandmother could keep up with me just fine and used to chase me all over town, so I am aware of the abilities of some of our elderly population. Perhaps they can find some sort of non-driving job for her to do.

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kathim 1 year, 12 months ago

don't be quick to rush to judgement??

My children ride her bus route, they were trapped inside the bus because she blacked out behind the wheel and smashed into a tree. All because she has a medical condition that she ignored. The superintendant felt it was safe for her to continue, and allowed her to resume her route. less than a year later, she smashed into another bus, takes out 93 feet of fenceing and takes out a light pole. How much more damage needs to be done before someone realizes that this is a serious issue?

This woman is in charge of our children, she is supposed to get them to and from school safely. How am I supposed to trust her to drive my children if she can not even take care of herself?

I could care less about her age or her gender. for all I care She could be a purple and yellow polka dotted non gendered space alien in her 20s and I would feel the same.

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oleblueeyes69 1 year, 12 months ago

ok first and formost...im glad no one was injured and the driver is ok. never pass judgement until you get the whole story...there are alot of things left out or not mentioned ...all of what is being said is hearsay, rumors or was written in the paper, if people are 100% sure of what happened then they can pass judgement, but everything being said or written is not 100 % true. David.....the light pole in question is actally not that heavy, it is all aluminum and hollow. Buff....she must have been pretty qualified to pass everything that needs to be passed to get a CDL. I know as parents we want to protect our children and will do whatever possible to ensure that happens but let the facts get out before anyone bashes, slanders or comes to some conclusion as to what happened

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oleblueeyes69 1 year, 12 months ago

Dave i agree with everything you have said...all well put

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David Moore 1 year, 12 months ago

Per the article: "Bryan Gonzalez, a Craig Police Department corporal, said as Hering drove the bus back to the garage, she rear-ended the bus in front of her before heading in a northwest direction into the field behind the baseball diamond. The Craig Police Department received the call at 8:07 a.m. “As the bus approached the baseball field, it hit a light pole and ran over about 93 feet of chain link fence,” Gonzalez said. “When we arrived, the bus was straddling the fence and the light pole was knocked over.” Jerry DeLong, a Craig Police Department captain, said the bus clipped a fence, sideswiped a building and hit a trash receptacle between rear-ending the other bus and crashing onto the baseball field."

Since it is being handled by the police, and they are quoted, I don't see this as "hearsay" and am pretty comfortable with the facts, besides, pictures don't lie. Other than the previous accident, I am well aware of this drivers history and habits, they are not something a parent wants to hear and I have called to complain about her driving habits. Would anyone feel different if the bus was full of kids, as it is when my daughter is picked up? I am certain the opinions would be much different from some if children were hurt, or worse. Think it can't or won't happen? Think again. Second, nobody is bashing or slandering anyone, we are concerned for the safety of our children, that's all. I sincerely hope the driver was not seriously hurt and makes a speedy recovery, seriously, I am not in the business to wish harm upon anyone. BUT, I will stand behind my belief that it is time for her to give it up, and if she does not do it, the school admin needs to force her to. I have my options if she continues to drive, I am just worried for those children and parents who do not have that choice.

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David Moore 1 year, 12 months ago

olblueeyes69 "Dave i agree with everything you have said…all well put"

Thank you, and I do agree with you on getting the facts, quoted facts, unless the paper took them way out of context, are usually good for me. Like I said, I know this driver and her poor driving habits, which I will not go into, which would make any parent quite concerned. I called, I got the feeling something was done or said because she was replaced for awhile, which made me feel a lot better about bus transportation to school. Then one day, there she was, back at it, I felt pretty uneasy...and then this happened. Thankfully no children were on the bus, without any type of restraints (which is a whole other issue) there could have been some serious injuries, both mentally and physically. I am not a quitter, and if it were me, I would fight to the end for my job. But I also know when enough is enough (like arguing on certain threads here) and for the sake of the kids, at 71, I think I would graciously step down. That's all we are asking after this second time around, I think we have had enough.

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twix81625 1 year, 12 months ago

Please remeber that there are labor laws that govern how the district responds to questions regarding employment. I am certain none of you would appreciate or tolerate your or your families employment status and future being discussed on the front page of the local paper

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Ray Cartwright 1 year, 12 months ago

“First and foremost, we want to make sure everyone is safe, and everyone has been checked out and I have been assured everyone is safe,” Petrone said."

At least this time everyone is safe and everyone is safe. As for me I am with the ones above. If my child was riding on a bus she was driving I would make arrangements to get them to school some other way..

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user81625 1 year, 12 months ago

As a proactive solution rather than just making demands on the school district to "do something for us" As many parents have commented they would find away to get their kids to and from school. Start a carpool, create a phone tree of safe parent drivers. Get to know your neighbours find a better way to "help yourselves".

This will do 2 things first it will keep your children safe, and also it is a very direct statement to the schools that if they continue to do nothing about this problem that you will.

Do not blame the schools when you have made the choice to use the service they provide.

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craignative 1 year, 12 months ago

I don't believe the school district would care if parents started taking their children to school rather than using the bus system. If you look at past articles in the CDP regarding budget cuts by the school district, there was a lot of controversy regarding some bus routes being eliminated.

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David Moore 1 year, 12 months ago

I am not demanding anything, and I do have an option, which is to drive her myself, if I have to, I will. All I said was to make the right choice, both her and the school district, she needs to step down, and if not, the district needs to step up. That is not a demand, that is a suggestion from a parent who supports this school system. Again, I have an alternative. A 71 year old woman with two crashes under her, one with injuries of children, does not belong behind the wheel of a bus. Period.

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