The Jefferson Iowa News®


  School Bus Wreck Ends In Ghoulish Ordeal

School children riding to school earlier this year were forced to endure a bitter and ghastly ordeal when bus number 14 crashed on the way home from classes. The driver of the bus, Horace Ashtreigh, was killed in the wreck, and poor weather conditions forced the children to hunker down and await rescue. The wait turned into an eternity when bad weather, including snow and blinding winds, prevented the children from leaving the bus or ascertaining their exact location.

As hours turned into days, the 43 brave children, ranging in age from 6 to 11, tried to stay warm and alert, hoping that they would eventually be found. They were forced to burn their schoolbooks and any other flammable items they could find in an effort to keep warm. As the days wore on, hunger eventually set in, and in a final ghastly effort to stay alive, they were reduced to chewing on their purses and belts for nourishment. When several appeared to be near death, cannibalistic acts were reported. The first to go was the bus driver, followed shortly afterwards by the nerdier children.

The horror didn't stop until a recue was finally made, putting an end to the children's 72 hours of terror. Local authorities finally located the bus at the corner of Park and Olive Street. The actual snowfall was slightly less than one inch, but apparently seemed like quite a lot to the frightened children and townsfolk. The photo at left shows the damaged bus as it appeared shortly after being driven back to the bus barn.

Rick Bland, 10-16-2010