Bus driver nearly plunges into pond by golf course; police say rubbernecking resulted in separate crash

Tow officials work to dislodge a bus that almost crashed into a pond near Sunbrook Golf Course in St. George, Utah, Aug. 23, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Washington County School District bus nearly plunged into a pond after jumping a median and knocking down a palm tree Thursday morning.

A palm tree is knocked into a pond after a Washington County School District bus driver jumped a median and crashed near a pond by Sunbrook Golf Course in St. George, Utah, Aug. 23, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

Emergency personnel responded to the scene shortly after 8:50 a.m. The bus driver was northbound on Dixie Drive, with no students aboard, when he went through the median, across inbound traffic and then crashed a few feet away from a pond on Sunbrook Golf Course, said St. George Police officer Dave McDaniel. The driver crashed into a palm tree, knocking it into the pond.

“It’s still under investigation as to what caused it to leave the road,” McDaniel said. “We’re still waiting on some on-board video that all buses have.”

School district officials also showed up to the scene of the crash.

“We wanted to make sure our employee was OK,” said Steve Dunham, communication and public relations director, “and to ensure that there were no students involved.”

The bus driver sustained only minor injuries and didn’t need to be transported to the hospital.

The scene of a crash police say was caused by rubbernecking shortly after a school bus crashed near a pond in St. George, Utah,. Aug. 23, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

Traffic was restricted to one lane on Dixie Drive as a result, McDaniel said, and the driver of a tan Honda Pilot slowing to observe the bus crash was rear-ended by a tan GMC Terrain.

“The bus had already come to a complete stop, and everybody had slowed to watch this.”

The driver of the Terrain received a citation for following too closely. There were no injuries but the GMC was towed from the scene.

St. George Fire Department and Gold Cross also responded to the scene. Tow officials are currently still working on dislodging the bus, and officials are advising motorists avoid the area as a road closure may be necessary.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.




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  • Carpe Diem August 23, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    Hey Honey, guess what I caught in the pond today?

    A large gold fish! Biggest ever! Full of guppies too.

  • Carpe Diem August 23, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    BTW I have a friend who lives a half mile away, they felt it and it rattled the window like some of the Nellis exercises do.

  • tazzman August 23, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    Good thing there were no kids on board when it happened.

  • DRT August 23, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    OK this has to be one of two things. Either driver error, or mechanical failure. Whichever one it was, was totally inexcusable.
    Yes, this turned out OK, with no injuries. But think of what could have happened there.

    • Larry August 24, 2018 at 1:19 am

      Yes, could have been a lot worse. This is very near the area (within a block) where a pedestrian was killed a few years ago when a driver (if I’m not mistaken) was distracted by their cell phone. My question is, if it is found the driver of the bus was doing something similar, what will be the punishment?

  • youcandoit August 23, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    The poor ? at least it stopped it from going in the water. Thank goodness the children were not on board. Just curious. So who pays for this?

    • Redbud August 23, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      Your tax dollars will pay for it one way or another, whether you like it or not! Even if it initially comes out of someone else’s pocketbook, it will also hit yours too!

  • comments August 23, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    now THAT is embarrassing… If the guy isn’t out his bus driving job after this, well…

  • mesaman August 23, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    Sadly, the life of a mature, innocent palm had to plunge into the pond of death. That to me is the most salient feature of this story.

  • Carpe Diem August 24, 2018 at 7:41 am

    Was he driving Bus #420? Oh no, it was a text from his significant mistress?

  • justsaying August 24, 2018 at 9:27 am

    He was just taking fish to their school

  • LunchboxHero August 24, 2018 at 9:43 am

    And what, pray tell, caused the driver to jump a very prominent median…? Hmmm

  • Canaanite August 24, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    “We wanted to be sure our ex-employee was OK”

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