As you are aware, on December 13, 2019, a Quincy School District bus was involved in a collision on White Trail Road. The bus was picking up a student when it was rear ended twice, once by a passenger car and shortly thereafter by a coach bus traveling at high rate of speed in dense fog. We would like to extend our sympathy and concern to all the families affected by the collision.
Assistant Superintendent Nik Bergman and Transportation Director Rob Henne were the first QSD staff at the scene of the accident. Mr. Bergman quickly determined that a hospital student reunification would need to be put into place. Principal Scott Ramsey and Principal Colleen Frerks led the student reunification process at Quincy Valley Medical Center. Their coordinated reunification efforts with QVMC and QSD Staff ensured that each student was safely released back to the care of his or her family. We greatly appreciate Mr. Ramsey’s and Mrs. Frerks' leadership and response.
We met with our families on December 17th to explain the resources available for students and families after the accident. At that meeting there were concerns expressed regarding the safety of the White Trail Road bus route and the overall safety of White Trail Road. Our past evaluation of this bus route is that it is in fact safe. However, as a result of the concerns expressed at the 12/17 meeting, we retained a very experienced and very qualified transportation expert to drive the route and re-assess the safety of the route and the particular stop where the accident happened. That expert has advised QSD that the route and the bus stop exceed the standards set forth in Washington law and the Washington State School Bus Driver Handbook. He further advised QSD that the stop meets the guidelines of a “safe stop.” In addition, although the hazard lights on our busses comply with all industry standards, we are taking the additional step of retrofitting our busses with even brighter LED hazard lights.
Quincy School District bus drivers also go through extensive training before they are ever allowed to drive a school bus. In addition, once those drivers receive the proper certification, they receive additional and ongoing training every year they are employed. After this accident, we provided the drivers with refresher training on winter driving protocols. Regarding the concerns expressed about the safety of White Trail Road itself, I met with two of our county commissioners to share with them the concerns expressed by the parents about White Trail Road. Although the commissioners did not share any specific plans for improvements at that meeting, they seemed very committed to exploring some possible solutions to enhance the safety of that roadway.
Since the week of the accident, our nurses and counselors have checked in on each of the students involved in the accident. These check-ins will continue throughout the remainder of the school year to make them aware of community resources and support their recovery. The safety of all our students and staff is our top priority and we appreciate all the support. I would like to thank the Quincy community for all of their concerns during this time. We truly appreciate the way the community came together and donated their time as well as food at the hospital and ensured students, staff and families were taken care of. Thank you for your continued support of our school system as we work together to support our students.
John L. Boyd
Quincy School District
“I believe that it’s almost impossible for people to change alone. We need to join others who will push us in our thinking and challenge us to do things we didn’t believe ourselves capable of.”
- Frances Moore Lappe