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One student and the driver of a pickup truck were transported following Molalla First Student bus crash

PMG PHOTO: SANDY STOREY - A Molalla First Student school bus and a pickup truck pulling a trailer collided on Highway 213 the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 14.

A Molalla River School District bus, with students aboard, was involved in a crash on Highway 213 in Molalla this morning. Two were transported to the hospital.

The Molalla First Student bus was traveling southbound on the highway. Then at about 7:05 a.m., the bus driver attempted to turn left onto Toliver Road and collided with an oncoming pickup truck pulling a trailer, according to details from the school district and Molalla Fire Chief Vince Stafford.

The crash was not weather-related, the district said in a social media post.

Ten students were on the bus – eight middle-schoolers and two high-schoolers.

Molalla Fire responded to the scene, where Stafford said they loaded kids onto another school bus.

"We moved them off the busy highway over to the bus facility, where it was warm and sheltered, and then we did reunification with the parents there," Stafford said.

Molalla Fire paramedics evaluated all students and drivers. Due to complaints of pain or injury, one student was transported to the hospital for evaluation, per Stafford. The driver of the pickup truck was also transported.

At this writing, neither Molalla Fire nor the school district had an update on the status of the driver of the pickup truck. But Molalla Superintendent Tony Mann did follow up with the families of students.

"We're making personal phone calls to the families of the kids who were on the bus," Mann said, "just to check in and express our concern—with all ten of the children."

He said as of this afternoon, three students were seen by doctors, including the one who was transported from the scene.

"A couple of students, their parents took them in to err on the side of caution, and we're glad, just to make sure everything's okay," Mann said. "Some students went to school today and were able to make it through the whole day. Other students did not come to school."

Mann said he's glad this crash was not worse.

PMG PHOTO: SANDY STOREY - Traffic was held up in Molalla on Tuesday, Jan. 14 after a Molalla school bus and a full-sized pickup truck collided on Highway 213 at about 7:05 a.m.

Molalla Police were at the scene along with Molalla Fire, and at that time, they did not cite the bus driver. However, according to Molalla Police Lieutenant Chris Long, police are continuing to investigate. He said these investigations take time since so many children were involved, and police must interview all of them.

By afternoon, Mann said police had cited the bus driver.

Now, the district will leave it up to First Student to follow up.

"It's the responsibility of First Student to supervise, evaluate, follow [Oregon Department of Transportation] expectations and follow the district's expectations in terms of the contract with First Student," Mann said.

Molalla First Student declined to comment on protocol following a crash, instead deferring to First Student's corporate media department. The Pioneer has left messages with the media department.

This is the second Molalla school bus crash within the span of a year. Last year, on Monday, Feb. 11, a Molalla bus driver ended up in a ditch on South Union Mills Road near South Jordan. Students were also on board that bus, and the driver was cited for careless driving.

Mann confirmed the driver involved in today's crash is not the same as the driver involved in the February crash.

This story has been updated and may be updated again when more information becomes available.

Kristen Wohlers
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