Boy: 'I flew over a couple of seats and I hit the ground on the bus' during dump truck crash

Boy: 'I flew over a couple of seats...

PATCH GROVE, Wis. - Authorities said injuries suffered in a crash between a school bus and a dump truck Tuesday afternoon range from minor to severe, and some people were still in the hospital a day later. 

The Grant County Sheriff's Office said the children and the bus driver, 75-year-old Jon. C. Cooley, were taken to the hospital after a crash in Patch Grove at about 4 p.m. Tuesday. 

One child was ejected when the right front door area of the school bus collided with the left cab area of the dump truck. Injuries ranged from minor to severe, and some involved parties were still in the hospital Wednesday morning, the sheriff's office said.

The bus was traveling north across the County Road P from Morgan Road to Borah Ridge Road when the two vehicles collided, the sheriff's office said. 

Randy Pugh, 59, of Viola, who was driving the dump truck was treated and released at the scene. The dump truck is owned by Lepke Trucking of Lacrosse, according to the report.

'I flew over a couple of seats'

Aboard the bus were River Ridge School District students including a 5-year-old boy, two 5-year-old girls, a 6-year-old girl, an 8-year-old girl, two 8-year-old boys and 15-year-old Colton Mezera, who said he helped check on the others right after the crash. 

"I flew over a couple of seats and I hit the ground on the bus," Mezera said. "As soon as I hit the ground, I got right back up. I thought it was kind of my job, since I was one of the older kids on the bus."

Ridge Schools Superintendent Jeff Athey said he visited classrooms Wednesday to talk to the kids and counselors were made available. 

"You don't know how people are going to react to the news, and we want to make sure that they feel supported," Athey said. 

Athey said events Wednesday, such as the eighth-grade graduation, are expected to carry on as planned. He also said "our thoughts and prayers are with those kids and families."

Mezera, who said his shoulders and head hurt, spent Wednesday, the day after the crash, at home healing.

Grant County officials said the crash was still under investigation Wednesday. In the updated news release, the sheriff's office asked that people keep those who were injured in their thoughts: "Please pray for a full and speedy recovery for all involved," the sheriff's office wrote. 

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