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Thirteen people injured after tornadic winds strike Columbia College bus
Monday, March 13, 2006

Damaged Columbia College bus. Click for larger image.Around 9:30 p.m. Sunday, March 12, a Columbia College bus traveling south on Highway 63 approximately seven miles south of Moberly, Mo., near Renick, Mo., was struck by tornadic winds and overturned, injuring all 13 passengers, including 11 Art Club students, one faculty member and the bus driver.

Eleven of the 13 passengers were treated at Moberly Regional Medical Center and released. One student was transported by ambulance to University Hospital and Clinics in Columbia, Mo., where she is listed in stable condition. The bus driver was kept at Moberly Regional Medical Center for observation overnight and is expected to be released today.

Everyone on the bus walked out through the emergency exit or roof without assistance, with the exception of the bus driver who was trapped behind the steering wheel. He was extricated by emergency workers at the scene. The bus was totaled.

The students were returning from a field trip in Chicago, having taken the train to LaPlata, Mo., where the bus driver picked them up to transport them to Columbia. According to the driver, the bus was airborne, landed on its side and skidded before coming to rest.

The driver pulled the bus over a few times earlier due to heavy rain. He was listening to the weather reports, and the last report he heard was that there might be a tornado near Fayette, Mo.

"From what we know about the accident and the strength of the high winds that ripped through the area at that time, we are relieved that no one was injured more seriously than they were," said Dr. Gerald Brouder, president of Columbia College. "We are working closely with the students and their families to make sure they receive all assistance necessary."