One of the buses carrying the University of Washington marching band crashed Thursday en route to Pullman. Local residents — many of them Cougar fans — came to the students' aid with Thanksgiving meals and treats.
Huskies and Cougars broke bread together on Thanksgiving after a charter bus carrying band members rolled over near the Grant County town of George en route to Pullman and the Apple Cup.
Following the crash, 47 students — out of 56 people on board — were taken to local hospitals to be evaluated. Two were hospitalized with what were described as nonlife-threatening injuries. Most of the students ended up at George Elementary School, where they were treated to a community-sourced Thanksgiving dinner, according to one band member.
The 300-member Husky Marching Band will not go on to perform at the Apple Cup, according to a statement Friday morning from the University of Washington.
“The Husky Marching Band is like a family and we do everything together,” said Brad McDavid, UW director of athletic bands. “With that in mind, the band will not attend the 2018 Apple Cup game in respect and consideration of the recovery our students and staff need following our bus accident last night.”
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While regrouping at the school, and after their plight was reported by a local radio station, students were treated to a Thanksgiving meal by community members, plus hot food cooked by school cafeteria workers, and sandwiches donated by a local business.
“I would like to … express deep and heartfelt gratitude to the people of Grant County … Quincy School District and the administration and staff of George Elementary who went far out of their way to take such incredible care of our students on Thanksgiving night,” Jennifer Cohen, UW’s director of athletics, said in a statement.
Shanna Hauser, a cymbals player for the University of Washington marching band, said she burst into tears when she saw people bringing Thanksgiving food into the cafeteria.
“Most of them were WSU fans but, in that moment, it didn’t matter who was cheering for what team,” Hauser said in a Facebook message. “They were decked out in full crimson Cougar gear but it felt like they were family too.”
Another student, Patrick Stanton, wrote that a man wearing WSU gear brought multiple pies.
“You put some joy and love back in our hearts,” he said.
A report of the crash by the Washington State Patrol lists the cause of the crash as “speed too fast for conditions.”
MTR Western, the company that operates the charter bus, said in a statement it was cooperating with the investigation, but a spokesman for the company did not answer additional questions.
It is unknown how fast the bus driver was going, according to Trooper John Bryant, but the driver could face an infraction for driving too fast for conditions pending the investigation.
“Conditions were slush and ice and you have to be prudent in those conditions,” he said. “There was five other buses and that was the only collision we had in that area.”
On Friday morning, Hauser said it was hectic as the students were spread across three different hotels and she was trying to find her belongings.
She said she was “bummed” she wouldn’t be able to make it to the Apple Cup, but thankful everyone was OK.
“We won’t be going to the game, but the team promised to win for us,” she said.
Sara Jean Green contributed to this report.