School bus crashes into front lawn in Ottawa County; five students hurt

Posted at 8:12 AM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-03 17:29:12-05

MARNE, Mich. - Five Zion Christian School students were hurt Thursday morning after their school bus went airborne and landed on a front lawn in Ottawa County.

The crash happened at 24th Avenue and Leonard Street at about 7:45 a.m. Thursday.  The bus landed in Robert and Sandi Van Manen's yard, who tell FOX 17 for the past 20 years, cars and other vehicles have continued to crash into their yard about three times per year.

"There is a lot to be thankful for in the midst of the difficulties,” said Robert Van Manen.

Van Manen said he is thankful injuries were not worse. Also a pastor, he said he is scheduled to do chapel Friday at Zion Christan School and was surprised to see the school's bus in his yard.

Ottawa County deputies said five kids were aboard the bus, all were injured, and two of them seriously hurt. Two students were taken to the hospital, and one of the students may have suffered facial fractures. Deputies said all five are expected to recover.

The bus driver Angela Telman told deputies she "lost track of where she was and missed the intersection."  She was heading eastbound on Leonard when she missed the stop sign at 24th and crashed into the front yard of the Van Manens' home.

24th and Leonard, Marne

24th and Leonard, Marne

Telman told deputies that she was not distracted nor was she on her phone.  The Sheriff's Department is still investigating. According to state driving records, Telman failed to stop last November and injured one person.

Robert Van Manen said he had just put coffee on when he heard a "thud." When he went outside and saw three students remaining and Telman standing in their yard, he and his wife invited them inside to stay warm.

"It was mostly keep them calm, talk to them a little bit, reassure them everything seems to be okay,” said Van Manen.

“(We) had prayer with the bus driver to let her know we're not upset with her either or angry with her and just more concerned that everything turns out okay for the kids that they took away, because she was obviously quite concerned about them."

Van Manen and his neighbors told FOX 17 they want to see changes in this intersection: they suggested rumble strips or a flashing light to help stop these accidents from happening. They said when the intersection was redesigned from a curve on Leonard that it lessen the severity of these accidents, but not their frequency.

"We all make those momentary mistakes of judgment and you know, you have to help and assist as best you can for people in that circumstance,” said Van Manen.

Video courtesy of David Kuzee.

The kids on board were all between the ages of nine and 16 and were headed to Zion Christian School in Byron Center.