OCUSD staff recognized for response to Nov. 28 bus crash

School bus with students on board was rear-ended; no life-threatening injuries reported

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OREGON — Three Oregon School District staff members were lauded for their response during a Nov. 28 crash where a school bus was rear-ended.

On Monday, Dec. 18, the Oregon School District board recognized bus driver Bob McGhee, bus aide Nate Clow and Co-Director of Transportation Liz Ludwig.

“Their response after the accident was really, really good in terms of making sure A, our students were OK, and B, that students that needed to be checked out by EMS were,” OCUSD Superintendent Tom Mahoney said. “Then just communication with both Liz, and then Liz with the administration was excellent.”

An OCUSD school bus carrying 26 students and two adults was rear-ended by a Mazda CX-5 at Tomahawk Drive and Illinois Route 64, just outside Oregon city limits, Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle said. The crash occurred at 3:41 p.m. Nov. 28.

The bus was on a regular after-school route and was headed back into Oregon when the crash occurred, Mahoney said. The children on board ranged in grade level from kindergartener to high school, he said.

Two students ultimately were taken to a local hospital with back and neck pain, while the others refused treatment, VanVickle said. Their injuries were not life-threatening, he said.

Mahoney credited McGhee and Clow’s good, strong relationships with the kids on the bus that allowed the children to look to them for guidance during the incident. Ludwig wasn’t on the bus, but drove out to the scene once she was alerted to the crash, he said.

“The care and concern they showed the kids is the thing we were focused on,” Mahoney said of the recognitions.

The driver of the Mazda, Michael Heller, 25, of Oregon, was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, VanVickle said.

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner reports on Lee, Ogle and Whiteside counties for Shaw Media out of the Dixon office. Previously, she worked for the Record-Eagle in Traverse City, Michigan, and the Daily Jefferson County Union in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.