7 Children, Driver Injured in School Van-Semi Crash Near Benson

March 13, 2018 11:03 AM

UPDATE: Sheriff Releases Names of Drivers Students Involved in Semi-Van Crash Near Benson

Authorities say seven schoolchildren and an adult driver suffered injuries after a school van collided with a semi-truck in western Minnesota.


The seven children and the van's driver were transported to Appleton Area Health Services and Benson Area Hospital. Swift County Sheriff John Holtz said he couldn't confirm how many, but that two or three of those injured were airlifted to the Twin Cities.

The children range in age from about 8 to 16 years old, Holtz said. He said no fatalities had been reported. 

RAW: Chopper 5 Footage at Scene of School Van-Semi Crash Near Benson

The semi-truck driver was checked out by responders and was determined to have no injuries. A hospital administrator at the news conference could not provide status updates of those hospitalized.  

The Swift County Sheriff's Office says the crash – between a Hancock Public School van and a semi – happened at the intersection of County Road 20 and 130th Avenue Northwest about 3:42 p.m. about 10 miles west of Benson. Hotlz said a passerby reported the crash. The van had been delivering students home after school.

The sheriff said it appeared the van entered the intersection from a gravel road when it was struck in a T-bone fashion by the oncoming semi-truck and trailer, destroying much of the passenger side of the van.

A news release says "many responder units" were sent because of reports of numerous injuries. 

"Upon arrival to the scene, it was a very traumatic and horrific crash," Holtz said.

A KSTP photographer reported from Chopper 5 that the semi appeared to have minimal damage, and the trailer looked like it came to rest in a ditch. He said the van sustained more significant damage, and was in "very bad shape."  

The Minnesota State Patrol and sheriffs deputies will reconstruct the crash to determine how the crash occurred and how fast the vehicles were going, Holtz said. 

"Working in small communities like Hancock, everyone that responded was organized and handled this situation greatly," Holtz said. "With Hancock being a city of 500 people, we are a very close-knit community."

Hancock Superintendent Loren Hacker released this statement Monday evening: At about 4 p.m., a van transporting seven students home from school in Hancock was struck at the intersection of Swift County Road 20 and 130th Av. NW by a semi-truck traveling east on County Road 20. The accident occurred 12 miles south of Hancock. The van driver and students were transported to area hospitals. Two of the students were transported on to other care facilities. We are working diligently with local authorities to make sure that student and family needs are immediately addressed. We cannot comment further at this point until more details are known.

The Associated Press, Michael Oakes and Tommy Wiita contributed to this story.


Katherine Johnson

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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