Bus carrying Kansas youth groups crashes on return from Rocky Mountain snow camp

Jan 24, 2018 by and

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A bus carrying three south-central Kansas youth groups returning from Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp junior high snow camp crashed Jan. 21 just outside Stratton, Colo. Passengers experienced bumps and bruises, but no serious injuries.

Fifty-three youth and adult leaders from Hesston Mennonite Church, Whitestone Mennonite Church in Hesston and Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton were in the bus when it came upon a jack-knifed semi truck.

“It was winter driving conditions,” said Whitestone youth pastor Isaac Landis. “It was windy and snowy. Visibility wasn’t great.”

In a release, the congregations stated the driver did his best to keep everyone safe on the icy road without much time to react.

“He did not swerve or hit the brakes too hard, but there was not time to avoid impact,” they reported. “After the initial impact, we slid sideways, and came to a stop blocking the interstate. Vehicles behind us were able to stop without impacting the bus, but we did see that there were other accidents and vehicles that had to go into the ditch to avoid stopped vehicles.”

Blankets were used to keep wind and snow out of the bus, and to cover the driver, who was taken to a local hospital for a severely broken leg.

Two school buses took passengers to Burlington, where the youth groups rode out the snow storm at a motel and waited for the highway to reopen.

“That evening and the following day we experienced grace and blessing,” wrote the churches. “A couple and their friend paid for our meal that evening and helped us bring the food back to our hotel in their truck during the remainder of the blizzard. The next day we were able to connect with Burlington United Methodist Church, who provided a ride to pick up lunch and then arranged a home-cooked supper meal. Our speaker at snow camp had spoken about living the gospel, but we experienced it firsthand from these individuals and businesses. Their generosity was appreciated and will be remembered.”

The youth groups returned to Hesston the evening of Jan. 23.

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