4 injured in a car-bus crash

Driver of car allegedly ran stop sign
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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO This Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District bus ended up in the ditch near the intersection of Church and Sugar Bush roads near Birnamwood after a car failed to stop at a stop sign Monday morning. Four people were injured, including both drivers.

Four people were injured Monday when a car crashed into a Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District bus transporting 22 students to school.

The accident occurred about 7:25 a.m. at the intersection of Church and Sugar Bush roads near Birnamwood after the driver of the car, a student at Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School, failed to stop for a stop sign, according to the report filed by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The bus driven by Karen Frederick was eastbound on Church Road when struck by the 2001 Pontiac Grand Am traveling southbound on Sugar Bush Road. The car struck the bus near the front left quarter panel and pushed it into the ditch. The car ended up in the ditch on the opposite side of Church Road.

Birnamwood Fire and Rescue, Birnamwood EMS, Dan Weisensel, the school district’s liaison officer with the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department, and the Wisconsin State Patrol responded to the crash.

The driver of the car, whose name was not released, suffered a bruised knee. Frederick sustained left leg injuries. One student suffered a possible concussion and another a shoulder injury. Frederick and those two students were transported to the hospital in Antigo for further examination.

“From observing what I could, I think Karen Frederick did an absolute great job of maneuvering the bus to absorb and steer it in a location where the least impact possible could be made,” said Garrett Rogowski, WBSD superintendent. “She was truly a hero for those kids today.”

Rogowski also noted that nurse Becky Wendell, guidance counselor Sara Dingess and other school staff were instrumental in communicating with parents about what happened and attended the students when they arrived at school. Jill Resch, Ruth Suess, Marie Frietag, Tarrie Lettau and Claudia Yaeger were also very helpful, he said, and Sparrow Resch helped transfer students to another bus.

“This was certainly a very traumatic situation for all involved, and we are fortunate to have had so many properly trained and willing people there to help,” Rogowski said.

The crash remains under investigation by the Wisconsin State Patrol.