Hettinger-Scranton assistant coach hospitalized following bus rollOne of 32 people inside a school bus that flipped on its side Friday afternoon remains in the hospital, said Adam Hill, Hettinger-Scranton head coach, Saturday.
One of 32 people inside a school bus that flipped on its side Friday afternoon remains in the hospital, said Adam Hill, Hettinger-Scranton head boys basketball coach, Saturday.
Assistant coach Jeremy Dietchman is recovering at Medcenter One in Bismarck.
“He’s doing fine, they’re just kind of keeping him for observation now, I think,” Hill said. “I think he had a pretty bad concussion.”
Twenty-eight boys basketball players and four Hettinger and Scranton staff members were in the bus when it crashed, officials said.
“To my knowledge, all students are now released from hospitals,” Hill said. “We have some that will be going back to be checked up on.”
Injuries ranged from bruises, like Hill received, to broken bones, he added.
“Two or three kids ended up with broken noses, most likely from hitting the seat in front of them,” Hill said.
Justis Caldwell, 18, whose face was scratched in the crash, said one student had about seven bones in his face broken.
“Everybody had to be checked out,” Hill said. “More serious injuries were shipped to Dickinson and then everybody else was bussed to Hettinger and checked out at the hospital there.”
The Hettinger-Scranton boys basketball team’s bus was headed east on Highway 21 on its way to Dickinson to play games against Dickinson Trinity on Friday afternoon.
Wayne Koltes, 67, was negotiating a curve when a strong gust of wind pushed the bus off the roadway, according to a press release from the North Dakota Highway Patrol.
“I was sitting by a friend and I just kind of grabbed onto him and grabbed onto the chair and was holding on for the ride,” Caldwell said. “It was pretty scary. I think everybody was freaking out.”
The bus entered the ditch and slid until striking a gravel road and rolled 1 1/2 times, according to the release. However, Caldwell and Hill don’t believe the bus rolled over.
“We launched into the air and the next thing I knew we were landing,” Hill said. “It seemed like we were in the air a long time, but to my knowledge we didn’t roll. We just got launched in the air and landed on our side.”
Antifreeze, which Caldwell described as “boiling hot,” began spraying onto the kids, burning one boy’s arm.
“It was all dusty in there and it was kind of hard to breath,” Caldwell said.
Students kicked out the vent on the roof of the bus and many exited that way.
“Everybody got off the bus, except the assistant coach,” Hill said. “We needed to cut out some chairs and stuff to get him out of there.”
The front of the bus was nearly ripped off, he added.
“It just tore it open like a can,” Hill said. “The bus driver walked away from it, but I don’t know how.”
The crash took out three of the team's varsity starters, and at least one will be unable to play for the rest of the season, Caldwell said.
He said that’s disappointing but, “I’m more glad that everybody is as OK as they are because it was a pretty crazy situation.”
NDHP said further information could not be released and Dietchman said he did not feel up to talking to The Press on Saturday.