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13 girls from GI Walnut Middle School basketball team injured in Kearney bus crash

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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) The Grand Island company whose driver was in a school bus accident Tuesday night in Kearney also had an incident involving a school bus in September.

Tuesday night, the Holiday Express bus carrying the GI Walnut Middle School girls basketball team was involved in an accident in the 800 block of 56th street in north Kearney.

Kearney police said the accident happened about 7:25 PM as the team was returning from a game in Kearney. Police said the bus was following a car which had slowed down or stopped to make a left turn. The bus collided with the rear-end of the car.

Police said 10 girls were taken to CHI Health Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney and three were taken to Kearney Regional Medical Center. None of the injuries, including those of the car’s driver, was believed to be serious.

The bus driver was cited by police for following too closely. Police said there was no suspicion of drugs or alcohol involved in the accident.

Grand Island Public Schools officials released this statement Wednesday morning regarding the accident:

“Tuesday evening the Walnut Middle School 8th grade girls basketball team bus was in a minor accident in Kearney. The girls were all checked for minor injuries before making their way home to Grand Island last night. GIPS staff contacted all the students’ parents and Walnut staff drove to Kearney to join the coaches in ensuring our students were taken care of. We are thankful for the Kearney Sunrise Middle School staff and the Kearney Police Department for helping keep our kids safe throughout the evening.”

Local4 contacted Holiday Express Wednesday seeking comment, but as of Wednesday afternoon the company had not responded.

Holiday Express contracts with both the Grand Island Public and Grand Island Northwest school districts for school bus transportation.

On September 11th of this year, a Holiday Express bus carrying students to the St. Libory elementary school stopped too close to railroad tracks at the Burlington Northern crossing on Broadwell street in north Grand Island. Cell phone video showed the crossing arms at that intersection coming down onto the roof of the bus. No-one was injured in that incident. But a Holiday Express spokesman said at the time that the driver was suspended.

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