LARIMER COUNTY - A serious crash involving a school bus and passenger vehicle on Bandana Lane and County Road 82 in Larimer County left three students and two adults injured Friday morning.
The driver of a Toyota slammed into the back of the Poudre School District bus as it was stopped waiting for a passenger around 7 a.m. The bus had nine students on board at the time of the wreck.
The driver of the car, 24-year-old Ashlie Dickerson, was taken to the hospital via helicopter. She is in critical condition.
Authorities at the scene said the woman somehow managed to "let herself out of the car and then collapsed" after the car became lodged under the back of the bus.
Investigators remained at the crash site through Friday morning, and crews had to hoist the bus off the ground in order to pull the mangled car out from under it. Investigators determined the impact from the crash shoved the parked school bus forward by 18 feet.
A student who was on the bus at the time of the wreck, Wyatt Poole, said the bus driver yelled "Look out!" before they felt the car hit them.
"The three kids in the back, like, flung up from the G-force of it. The kids in the front flew forward, and the bus driver hit the steering wheel," Wyatt told 9NEWS.
According to police, the three students and the bus driver all suffered minor injuries but were transported to the hospital via ambulance as a precaution.
The Colorado State Patrol says excessive speed was not a factor, neither were drugs or alcohol. Investigators are looking for the cause.
Dickerson's family told 9NEWS the sun was in her eyes. The glare that time of day affected what she could see.
The students were from Wellington Middle School and Eyestone Elementary School, Poudre School District said. Nearby residents brought blankets to the scene of the wreck to keep the kids warm.
Jessica Scott was supposed to be on the bus when the crash occurred, but she was running late and missed it. Her two best friends, whose names are being withheld due to privacy concerns, were among those injured. She said she had been talking with at least one of them who was at the hospital, shaken and with minor back pain.
"It is very ironic. We don't miss the bus that much," Jessica's mother, Lesli Scott, told reporters. "But we do every once in a while. It was just one morning that I was like, 'Thank you God we were not on that bus.'"
Parents and students who live along the bus route, which spans rural reaches of the county, spent the morning on the phone with friends and neighbors making sure everyone was OK, she said.
Poudre School District spokeswoman Danielle Clark alerted parents in the morning via email that a crash had involved bus No. 3092. She reassured parents that anyone whose student was involved in the crash had already been contacted. The schools provided counselors and mental health experts to talk to any student seeking help relating to the incident, she said.
"As the PSD community, we embrace Wellington Middle School, Eyestone Elementary School along with their marvelous staff and families as well as the PSD Transportation Department," Superintendent Sandra Smyser wrote in an afternoon letter to parents. "We have seen in the fires, floods and other difficult days, how we rally around one another in times of need."
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