October 16, 2005

Five dead in Wisconsin school band bus crash

CHICAGO (Reuters) - At least five people, some of them high
school students, were killed on Sunday when a bus returning
from a band competition hit a tractor-trailer truck on an
interstate highway, police said.

Another 30 people were injured in the accident, which
occurred at about 2 a.m. CDT (0700 GMT). Wisconsin Highway
Patrol spokesman Brent Pickard said the five fatalities
included both students and adult staff members from Chippewa
Falls High School in northwest Wisconsin.

The cause of the accident, which happened near the city of
Eau Claire, was under investigation.

Local media reports in Wisconsin said it appeared the
truck, traveling in the same direction as the chartered bus on
Interstate 94, jack-knifed after the driver strayed into the
medium and tried to get back on the road.

Pictures from the scene showed the front of the bus was
heavily damaged but remained upright, while the truck cab was
on its side nearby.

"This is a real tragedy for our school ... the band is one
of the good things from our school," Chippewa Falls School
Superintendent Mike Schoch told a news conference, the Chippewa
Herald newspaper said on its Web site.

Schoch said the bus was one of four returning from a band
competition carrying about 140 students, chaperons and staff
members in all.