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Fight did not cause school bus crash on Illinois 161, police say

Parents get call about school bus crash near Mascoutah

Parents of children in Mascoutah School District 19 received a call from Superintendent Craig Fiegel about a school bus crash involving 25 to 30 middle school students Tuesday morning near the intersection of Illinois 161 and Illinois 4, east of S
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Parents of children in Mascoutah School District 19 received a call from Superintendent Craig Fiegel about a school bus crash involving 25 to 30 middle school students Tuesday morning near the intersection of Illinois 161 and Illinois 4, east of S

A fight between middle school students did not cause a crash between a school bus and a truck near Mascoutah on April 25, Illinois State Police determined after an investigation.

George Buchanan, 47, of Waterloo was driving a delivery truck westbound on Illinois 161 shortly before 8 a.m. when an eastbound school bus swerved into his lane, according to Trooper Calvin Dye Jr.

Buchanan swerved to the right against a guard rail but was unable to avoid colliding with the bus.

The bus driver, 74-year-old Alphonse Schlueter of Mascoutah, initially reported a fight had broken out on the bus, causing him to swerve into the westbound lane.

A review of surveillance footage, however, showed there was no fight, Dye said. Schlueter later told a state trooper he was not distracted when he crashed. Police ticketed Schlueter for improper lane usage.

The truck driver was airlifted to Barnes-Jewish Hospital with serious injuries after the crash. His condition was not immediately available Monday.

There were approximately 25 to 30 Mascoutah Middle School Students on the bus. No one on the bus was seriously injured.

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