Ash borer blamed for tree falling on bus & injuring 5 kids - Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Ash borer blamed for tree falling on bus & injuring 5 kids

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Palmyra Township, MI – It was a terrifying morning for 29 Blissfield students on their way to school. A big tree fell on their moving bus sending five kids to the hospital. 

It happened Thursday just after 7 a.m. in Palmyra Township on Gorman Road just off of Crocket Highway.

The Blissfield students on the bus ranged from kindergartners to seniors in high school. Of the five students who were injured, four are in middle school. One is in elementary school.

The Superintendent of Blissfield Community Schools says all five were treated at a hospital in Adrian for minor cuts and bruises from the shattered windows. They were all released to go home before noon. The district superintendent, as well as students who were on that bus, call what happened a freak accident that could've been much worse.

Thursday afternoon crews on Gorman Road cleared away what's left of the rotted ash borer tree which is about three and a half feet in diameter. That tree fell onto a Blissfield school bus at approximately 7:10 a.m.

"Honestly I was sleeping and I felt a bunch of shudders and I woke up and everything was insanely ruined," says Jake Warner, a sophomore at Blissfield High School.

Warner was on the bus which was heading east down Gorman Road when the tree suddenly snapped.

The tree first smashed into the driver's windshield. As the bus driver slammed on the brakes, the tree rolled and then shattered the back windows.

"It was kind of scary because everybody started screaming and crying and I just tried to soothe all of the little kids because they seemed like they needed the most help," says Warner.

"The bus driver did an excellent job," says Michael Reinhardt, Operations Director for Blissfield Community Schools. "She determined who was injured, moved them to the front of the bus, evacuated the bus, was on the phone calling dispatch."

"It was absolutely a freak accident," says Scott Moellenberndt, Superintendent of Blissfield Community Schools.

Moellenberndt says weather isn't likely to blame for the collapse of the dead tree. It was quite calm around 7 a.m.

Speculation is the emerald ash borer damaged the tree.

"It wasn't like it uprooted from the base," says Moellenberndt. "It snapped in the middle which I thought was unusual, but obviously more unusual that it occurred as our bus was passing."

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