On the afternoon of June 27, 2018, students from Adams Elementary School and their bus driver, Erin Heming, rolled through a fence, down a hill, and stopped just inches from a high voltage transformer substation.
Heming reported she was attempting to turn left on to Fort Street from 108th at a green light when a truck, operated by Urban Lift, struck the bus. The impact caused the school bus to spin, strike a third vehicle, and roll down the hill towards the station.
Witness accounts varied. Some onlookers reported Heming ran a red light. Other witnesses blamed the truck. Regardless of what the witnesses reported seeing, all commended the bus driver on her ability to control the bus and avoid the power station.
14 students, ages five to eight, were on the bus at the time of the accident. All passengers, as well as the driver, were taken to either the Children’s Hospital or Nebraska Medicine as a precaution. While many of the children were visibly upset and shaken, all were reported as being okay in regard to possible injuries. Everyone was expected to be released from the hospital that same day.
With the traumatic event behind them, some parents said it may take some time for their kids to get back on a bus.
The transformer station was untouched, but there was damage to the fence surrounding the station. First responders said Heming’s proactive driving dodged the 69,000-volt substation.
As of July 28, law enforcement officials, with cooperation from the school board, cited Heming, an employee of Student Transportation American, for failing to yield at the intersection before turning left.
What could have been a disaster was avoided by Heming’s ability to avoid hitting the high voltage equipment. In the event of an accident like this that could have had much worse consequences, it’s important to remember that as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, good awareness can prevent a devastating outcome after a car crash.