Girl Hit Getting Off Bus Remains Hospitalized

Montana Highway Patrol hands criminal case over to county attorney; friends, family push for tougher laws

By Justin Franz
Six-year-old Jordana Hubble was struck by a car while she was exiting a school bus on Nov. 12, 2019 in Olney. Courtesy image

The 6-year-old Olney-Bissell School student who was struck by a speeding car while getting off a school bus remains hospitalized nearly three months after the incident.

Jordana Hubble was getting off a bus along U.S. Highway 93 northwest of Whitefish on Nov. 12 when she was struck by a vehicle traveling 40 miles per hour in the opposing lane as she crossed in front of the bus. The girl is suffering from extensive brain damage. In January, Hubble was transferred to a hospital in Houston where she remains in a “minimally conscious state.”

Montana Highway Patrolman Jon Raymond said investigators recently got the results of a blood sample from the driver who struck Hubble. He said the female driver was not intoxicated at the time of the incident. Raymond said the case has now been handed off to the Flathead County Attorney’s Office, although Montana Highway Patrol troopers have recommended that the woman be charged with careless driving.

Meanwhile, Hubble’s family and friends are pushing for stricter driving laws and punishments for those who do not stop for school buses. On Jan. 31, Hubble’s supporters met with state representatives and officials from local schools at the Montana Department of Transportation office in Kalispell to discuss putting together a package of bills they’ve dubbed “Jordana’s Law” to prevent similar incidents in the future. Griz Woldstad of Trego spent 12 years driving school buses and is spearheading the effort to change the laws. Among the things Woldstad would like to see is a clarification of the current laws so that people know when they need to stop, specifically on divided highways, and more efforts to educate the public of those laws. They also want motor vehicles to be classified as “deadly weapons” and the punishment for those who pass school buses to be much stricter. Among the punishments they would like to see is the loss of a driver’s license for 30 days and vehicle impoundment.

Woldstad said he would also like to see a mechanical arm with a stop sign added to the side of buses that would protrude into the opposing lane when a bus is stopped to make it more obvious to drivers.

“There is a legislative fix and an equipment fix,” Woldstad said.

Legislators who attended the meeting encouraged Woldstad to keep working on his proposals and said they may be able to pick up the cause during the 2021 session.

“There are a lot of great ideas here,” said Kalispell Rep. Frank Garner.

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