Kenai high school ski teams return home after Friday crash

thanlon@adn.comJanuary 11, 2014 

Kenai-area students were on their way home from Valdez Saturday after their charter bus collided with a state Department of Transportation truck early Friday morning, seriously injuring the bus driver.

A new bus, driven by the owner of Unique Bus Charters, left Valdez for the Kenai Peninsula around 1:30 p.m. Saturday carrying 42 students from the Kenai Central High School and Skyview High School ski teams and six adults, said an email from Pegge Erkeneff, a spokeswoman for the Kenai school district.

One student and the bus driver were flown to Anchorage Friday after the crash. The student has since been released from the hospital, Erkeneff said. The bus driver, Vernon Brown, was in "fair condition" Saturday evening at the Providence Alaska Medical Center, said hospital spokeswoman Ginger Houghton.

Erkeneff said she heard some reports of sore muscles from the teams Saturday morning, but most of the injuries were minor.

"There were some bloody noses, bumps and bruises," she said.

The collision occurred about two miles from the start of Thompson Pass in snowy conditions that created visibility issues, troopers said Friday. The charter bus rear-ended a DOT truck hauling an empty trailer that was slowing down to turn, troopers said.

The students were on their way to a ski meet in Valdez.

The trip back to the Kenai Peninsula was expected to take 10 to 12 hours.

Reach Tegan Hanlon at or 257-4589.


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