The drivers of a school bus and hay-hauling semitrailer in southern Nebraska both contributed to last month's crash that killed four people and injured five others, investigators said Thursday.
RED CLOUD, Neb. (AP) - Authorities concluded that the vehicles entered the rural, unmarked Webster County intersection at about the same time on Sept. 5, and both drivers had an unobstructed view before the collision. The fiery crash south of Blue Hill shook the rural community.
The truck's driver, 21-year-old Travis Witte, of Blue Hill, and 59-year-old bus driver Marla Wentworth, of Red Cloud, both died. Also killed were Dustin Tesdahl, 18, and Caroline Thallman, 10, both students from Blue Hill. Five other students were injured.
"This has been an extremely difficult time for all of us," Webster County Attorney Sara Bockstadter said in a statement. "While we continue to grieve the loss of our family members and friends, we would like to thank everyone who has reached out to our community to provide comfort and support."
Investigators said Witte didn't have a Class A commercial license that's required to drive the truck, and Wentworth failed to yield the right-of-way to the truck, which was on her right. Authorities say drugs and alcohol were not involved.
The Nebraska State Patrol investigated and reconstructed the accident, which happened just before 5 p.m. The fire destroyed data-recording equipment in both vehicles, which hampered attempts to determine how fast the vehicles were traveling.
A few weeks after the crash, Blue Hill Community Schools Superintendent Joe'l Ruybalid reported that residents had raised more than $5,000 for emergency crews that responded to the crash.
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