A man has died after the pickup truck he was driving plowed into the back of a stopped school bus on northbound U.S. Highway 93 Thursday morning.
The bus driver was the only person aboard the school bus at the time of the accident and was treated for minor injuries. The driver of the pickup, 48-year-old Theron Jensen of Bigfork, suffered “suspected non-life threatening injuries” but was transported to Kalispell Regional Medical Center where he later died, according to Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Hawkins. Jensen was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident.
The bus involved in the crash was on its way to a Whitefish bus yard after dropping off a load of students at Glacier High School earlier Thursday morning, Kalispell Public Schools Superintendent Micah Hill said. It stopped, along with other traffic, about a mile south of Highway 40 because a southbound bus was picking up its own group of students to take to a school in Whitefish. That bus had its lights on and stop arm extended, requiring all four lanes of traffic on the non-divided highway to stop.
Trooper Hawkins said it was unclear why the pickup failed to stop in time. Alcohol and speed were not suspected factors in the crash. Hawkins did say that some brake marks were seen on the roadway but that any braking was “very short prior to impact.”
UPDATE (Oct. 2, 10:34 a.m.): This story has been updated to include the name of the deceased man.
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