Minnesota Bus Crash Kills Teen Band Member

A bus carrying students and their chaperones home from a band trip to Chicago rolled onto its side near Albertville, Minnesota, April 5, 2008.
A bus carrying students and their chaperones home from a band trip to Chicago rolled onto its side on Interstate 94 in Albertville, Minnesota on Saturday, killing one student and injuring the dozens of others on board, authorities said.

Albertville is about 30 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

The bus was traveling west when it toppled over around 5:48 a.m. and skidded into the ditch, according to State Patrol dispatcher Tom Aspling. There were 47 people aboard the bus in addition to the driver.

The bus was one of two buses carrying students and their chaperones from Pelican Rapids High School, according to the western Minnesota school's Web site. The State Patrol identified the victim as Jessica Weishair, 16, of Barnesville.

The cause of the crash wasn't immediately determined. The weather and road conditions at the time were dry.

The students and chaperones were taken to hospitals in Coon Rapids, Buffalo, Monticello and Robbinsdale, and at least one remained in critical condition around 4 p.m., according to hospital spokespersons. The students on the second bus were unhurt and taken to a Catholic church in Albertville.

Colleen Moerke, the wife of Pelican Rapids High School Principal Glen Moerke, told the Star Tribune the students had performed Friday in Chicago as part of spring break and were to return to Pelican Rapids High School at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty, in a prepared statement, said, "The thoughts and prayers of Minnesota are with the people of Pelican Rapids, especially the family of the student whose life was lost in this accident, and we hope for a speedy recovery for those who were injured."

A call to the bus company, Richards Transportation Co. in Moorhead, wasn't immediately returned.