KUNA, Idaho — Authorities say one child has died and four others were injured when a dump truck collided with a school bus carrying elementary school students in a small southwestern Idaho city.
Canyon County Coroner Vicki DeGeus-Morris confirmed the child’s identity as 11-year-old Daniel Robert Cook. She says the boy died of blunt force trauma sustained in Thursday morning’s collision.
The bus was carrying 12 kids to a Kuna elementary school when it collided with a dump truck at a rural intersection. Four children were taken to the hospital with injuries, and the bus driver was taken to a hospital for emotional distress.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Theresa Baker says all the kids were sixth-graders or younger. The names and conditions of the injured children have not yet been released.
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Adam Cobb, whose son was friends with Daniel Cook, was at the crash site Thursday to collect the deceased boy’s belongings for the family. Cobb’s son wasn’t among the kids on the bus.
“It’s a terrible loss not only for the family but for the community,” Cobb said. “Daniel loved to wrestle and play football. He was just the kind of kid you’d want at your home. We love him — he was just a good boy.”
Cobb, who lives nearby, said he heard the ambulances racing to the crash scene as he was getting ready for work.
“I came upon it and it was already done,” Cobb said. “I just came back to make sure that there wasn’t anything left, a backpack or something.”
Daniel Cook also lived nearby and would only have been on the bus a few minutes before the crash, Cobb said.
The collision occurred at an intersection on a two-lane country road lined by homes and farm fields between Nampa and Kuna. Authorities say the dump truck was traveling north on Happy Valley Road, when the driver approached the four-way intersection with no stop sign for that road. The bus was traveling east on the intersecting road, which did have a stop sign. Though the temperatures were below freezing in Kuna Thursday morning, the roads were dry and ice-free at the intersection.
Idaho State Police Sgt. John Burke said it’s too early to determine what went wrong.
“We can’t really speculate. We need to gather more information and continue the investigation,” Burke said.
Burke said the initial investigation would likely take all day. Some of the parents picked up their children at the scene, while others were expected to meet their children at the elementary school.
The rear right section of the bus had visible damage, with broken windows and a torn metal exterior. The front end of the dump truck was lying in a nearby yard.
“It’s a horrible … it’s a terrible thing,” Burke said. “The family (of the deceased child) is devastated. They need our prayers and all we can do is hope they can get through it.”
Idaho Department of Education Spokeswoman Melissa McGrath said the Kuna School District runs its own bussing operation, meaning it buys the vehicles and hires its own drivers.
The last time a student died in a bus crash in Idaho was in Boise in 1969, she said.
Associated Press writer Rebecca Boone and correspondent Todd Dvorak contributed from Boise.