There were anxious moments on Dec. 13 as word circulated throughout Firebaugh that a Firebaugh/Las Deltas Unified School District bus was involved in a traffic collision.
The 1999 Thomas school bus, with the Firebaugh Middle School girls’ basketball team and their coaches on board, was heading to Coalinga for a Westside League playoff game.
The bus was heading south on Highway 33 north of Panoche Road on the outskirts of Mendota. According to the Los Banos office of the California Highway Patrol, a 2013 Volkswagen Jetta, driven by Trever Bohner, 21, of Clovis, was heading west on Panoche Road at an unknown speed.
CHP spokesman Shannon Stiers said that it is unknown if Bohner came to a complete stop at the intersection of Highway 33 and Panoche or if he failed to stop. But the bus was unable to avoid the crash and its front end crashed into the right side of the Jetta.
Bohner and a passenger in the car sustained major injuries and were transported by helicopter to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.
As for those aboard the school bus, the 20 students, three coaches and the driver escaped with relatively minor injuries.
“We are very relieved that (everyone) was not injured seriously,” the Firebaugh school district stated in a release. “Law enforcement, emergency teams and district personnel were at the scene to assist. Our staff were in communication with our parents and students. Students were released to their parents after they were cleared by the CHP and health services. We are thankful that our driver reacted quickly. This is a reminder to all of us that even on a clear and sunny day, we always have to be careful when driving because there are other drivers on the road that will run stop signs.”
Officer Stiers also stated that alcohol and/or drugs are not a factor in this crash, which remains under investigation.