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Injuries reported in Richardson Highway crash

By KTVA CBS 11 News 1:18 PM January 10, 2014

The driver -- who was pinned inside the bus by the crash -- was the most seriously injured, troopers said.

Update Friday, 7 p.m.

The bus involved in the crash is owned by Unique Bus Charters and was driven by Vernon Brown, 72, southbound on the Richardson Highway with Skyview and Kenai Central High School cross-country ski teams. Brown was extricated from the bus by firefighters, troopers said, and later medavaced to Providence Alaska Medical Center because of the severity of his injuries.

Students were transported to Valdez by a First Student bus.

The DOT trailer was driven by James Woodhouse, 60, of Valedez. He was transported to a local hospital, troopers said. An investigation is ongoing.

The teams will not compete in the Valdez Invitational on Saturday, and all their parents and guardians have been contacted, according to a statement from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. A replacement Unique Charters bus will pick them up Saturday.

Update Friday, 4:30 p.m.

Three people were injured when a bus carrying Kenai students rear-ended a transportation department truck near mile 55 of the Richardson Highway around noon, said Beth Ipsen, Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman.

There were approximately 49 people on the bus, bound for a cross-country ski meet in Valdez. Blowing snow on the road prevented the driver of the bus from seeing the semi brake in front of him, Ipsen said. The driver — who was pinned inside the bus by the crash — was the most seriously injured, she said. A student who was thrown against the seat in front of him and the semi driver, who complained of back pain, were also taken to Valdez by ambulance.

The driver of the bus was originally going to be flown to Anchorage for treatment, Ipsen said, but blowing snow prevented helicopter travel in the area.

Original story

ANCHORAGE – Alaska State Troopers said there are reports of injuries in a bus crash outside Valdez Friday afternoon.

Tim DeSpain, an AST spokesman, said troopers are responding to the crash near mile 32 of the Richardson Highway. Poor cellphone and radio reception in the area makes communication difficult, DeSpain said, and troopers are unsure how many people were on board at the time of the crash or the extent of any injuries.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities reports “fair” driving conditions in the area of the crash Friday.

This is a developing story.

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