Rosendale, WI Chain Reaction Crash, Sep 1996


Rosendale - (AP) - Thirteen-year-old Cassidy Robinson, waiting for her school bus on a fog-shrouded morning, suddenly spotted a semi-trailer-truck heading straight for the stopped bus and a car behind it.
"The bus stopped, the car stopped, and the truck didn't," she told her father over and over after the truck crushed the car and ripped open the back of the bus as she dashed to safety Monday.
The crash wiped out a family of four in the car and killed a high school student in the bus. Eleven other children in the bus were treated for injuries, as were the drivers of the bus and the truck.
By afternoon, the flag flew at half-staff at Laconia High School, in memory of 15-year-old JAMES SPENCER, of Brandon.
He was sitting in the second-to-last row of bus seats when the accident left the truck embedded two feet into the back of the bus.
The Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Department released today the identities of the four members of a family from the Randolph area in nearby Dodge County who were in the car and died.
They were THOMAS G. BOOMSMA, 40; his wife, SHARON L., 42; their son, OWEN, 11; and daughter, CHELSEA, 9.
There were no skid marks at the scene of the accident, which pushed the car and bus more than 30 feet past the Robinson driveway. The crash remained under investigation.
The bus carried students from ages 7 to 15 from the Rosendale-Brandon School District, Sgt. Mike Thome of the Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Department said. Some of the students were going to a school only a few miles up the road on the two-lane Wisconsin Highway 26.
School Superintendent Ron Milton said the bus driver followed proper stopping procedures when she approached the Robinson home. He said the crash is the first accident that has killed a student since he's been with the district.

Leader-Telegram Eau Claire Wisconsin 1996-09-24