A central Missouri school district is in mourning after a teacher and coach died and four students were injured in a school bus accident.
The accident happened Thursday afternoon on Route F in northern Boone County. Authorities said Brian Simpson, 37, a teacher who also is cross-country coach for the Harrisburg school district, was driving girls to a meet in Moberly when a pickup truck crossed the center line, struck the bus and knocked it on its side, causing it to catch fire.
Simpson died in the accident. Five girls were on the bus, two high school students and three middle school students. Four of them were able to get out on their own, either through a back door or the escape hatch in the roof.
One girl had to be rescued by firefighters, the Columbia Tribune reported.
All four of the injured girls were hospitalized with minor to moderate injuries.
Harrisburg schools Superintendent Steve Combs said in an email that Simpson also coached baseball and quiz bowl teams. The district called off classes on Friday “as we will work together to support the Simpson family, as well as the needs of our students and staff,” Combs said in the statement.
The district plans to have additional counselors available next week for grieving students, faculty and staff.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said the pickup truck driver, Brandon Brill, 26, of Clark, was flown by helicopter to a hospital and was in serious condition.