School bus, semi collide on Richardson Hwy.; bus driver seriously hurt

Editor's  note: An updated version of this story can be found here.

A  school bus and a semi collided on the Richardson Highway near Thompson Pass late Friday morning, seriously injuring the bus driver, officials said.

The incident at Mile 55 of the highway was reported at 11:44 p.m., said Beth Ipsen, troopers spokeswoman.

Forty-nine students were aboard the bus, which was heading from the Kenai Peninsula to Valdez for a cross-country skiing event, said Sheri Pierce, spokeswoman for the city of Valdez. After the crash, the bus driver was trapped and had to be extricated, Pierce said. 

The students were members of the Kenai Central High School and Skyview High School cross-country ski teams, according to a post on the Kenai Central High School Facebook page.

“All students and coaches are off of the bus and OK,” the post read.

The bus driver’s injuries were serious but not critical, Pierce said. An ambulance took the driver to a Valdez hospital for further treatment. 

Three students suffered minor injuries and were also transported by ambulance to the hospital to be checked, Pierce said. A Valdez City School District bus was dispatched to bring the remaining students the rest of the way.

Alaska State Troopers are investigating the circumstances of the crash. Information was limited early Friday afternoon because of poor cell phone and radio reception, Ipsen said.


Reach Devin Kelly at or 257-4314.