Bland soccer players among Belle students injured in bus crash

Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 5/15/19

Five members of the Belle High School (BHS) girls soccer team, their coach and driver are recovering after a Friday night head-on collision inside the city limits of Westphalia following a district …

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Bland soccer players among Belle students injured in bus crash

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Five members of the Belle High School (BHS) girls soccer team, their coach and driver are recovering after a Friday night head-on collision inside the city limits of Westphalia following a district game.

The accident occurred at 7:05 p.m. on U.S. Highway 63, a half mile south of State Highway 133. A 2001 Chevrolet Impala driven by Caleb R. Hock, 18, of Jefferson City, was traveling northbound and attempted to pass another vehicle, but then struck a 2013 Starcraft minibus driven by Randy H. Hicks, 54, of Belle, nearly head-on in the southbound lane, according to the report by Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Bruce F. Baker.

Osage County Sheriff Mike Bonham said Friday at 8:28 p.m. that all the parents and families had been notified.

“We had the cooperation of several ambulance services, including Osage County Ambulance, Maries Osage Ambulance, Cole and Owensville come on scene to transport patients,” Bonham said. “There were no fatalities, but several injuries.”

All seven occupants on the bus sustained injuries ranging from minor to moderate.

Hicks and the Impala’s driver were both wearing safety devices and had to be cut out of their vehicles. They were flown by Air Evac to University Hospital Columbia with moderate injuries.

Team members later reported that Hicks sustained injuries to his right ankle, shattered his left kneecap, and broke three ribs.

Hock reportedly shattered his left ankle and broke both legs.

Team members were also transported by ambulance to University Hospital Columbia with minor injuries, including Baylie J. Cadwallader, 18, of Vichy; Nisha C. Faber, 17, of Bland; Faith R. Langdon, 16, of Vichy; Katelyn E. Love, 17, of Bland; and Zana B. Robertson, 17, of Belle.

The team’s coach, Meagan L. Wall, 24, of Rolla, was transported and sustained minor injuries.

The Belle Lady Tigers lost their district soccer match 6-2 to Dixon that evening and were returning to Belle when the crash occurred. The bus, which is equipped with a wheelchair lift to transport special services students, is owned and operated by the Maries County R-2 School District. The bus was expected to be declared a total loss.

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