CRARY, N.D. — A Ramsey County school bus driver crashed into a moose on Thursday, Oct. 3, while driving the Dunseith volleyball team home from an away game, the North Dakota Highway Patrol said.
Though the 24 students, coach and bus driver were unharmed, the moose did not survive the crash, Sgt. Ryan Panasuk said.
“They generally don’t do too well against large vehicles,” he said.
The bus driver, Curtiss Halvorson, 78, of Dunseith, was westbound on U.S. Highway 2 about 3 miles east of Crary in northeast North Dakota at 9:35 p.m. when he spotted a moose standing in the road, the release said. Halvorson, who was commandeering the 2019 International school bus, struck the animal but was able to safely stop the bus without veering into a ditch, according to troopers. Panasuk said Halvorson wouldn’t have been able to stop the bus fast enough to prevent hitting the moose.
Dunseith Public Schools Superintendent David Sjol applauded Halvorson for how he handled the situation and said he was grateful that no one was hurt. Two students were checked by paramedics but didn’t require treatment, the Highway Patrol said.
Students road to the games against Dakota Prairie High School on Thursday in two buses. Sjol said the second bus, which was carrying most of the varsity squad, was driving only a few minutes behind the bus that crashed. The junior varsity and c-squad teammates were on board the bus that crashed. Halvorson already had checked students for injuries before the second bus had arrived, Sjol said.
“Our students handled it well,” he said. “There were some nerves, of course. The bus driver did an excellent job. … They were a little shook up but nobody was hurt badly.”
The bus had significant front-end damage and could not be driven after the crash. The students crowded onto the second bus and drove to Devils Lake, where Sjol said another bus met them.
“We sent another bus down there and picked them up so they’d have more room,” he said. “It was pretty crowded, but they all fit for a little while.”
Sjol said it’s not uncommon to see moose near Dunseith roads, but Panasuk said this is the first time he’s heard about a bus striking one of the animals.
Sjol said he’s not sure yet if the vehicle is totaled or how much repairs could cost.
The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office also assisted at the scene. Halvorson was wearing his seatbelt, and no charges were filed regarding the crash.