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Helmut Schmidt, Published February 21 2013

Fargo school bus driver removed from field trip due to health issues

By Helmut Schmidt


FARGO – The driver of a bus carrying children from two Fargo elementary schools to Buffalo River State Park on Thursday morning was taken to a local hospital due to health issues, law enforcement and Valley Bus Co. officials said.

After the man drove children from Fargo’s Longfellow and Washington elementary schools on a science field trip to the Clay County park east of Moorhead, law enforcement officials were told he was suffering mental health issues, Fargo police Lt. Joel Vettel said.

Vettel said when authorities contacted him, he appeared fine.

“We talked to the driver. It doesn’t appear anyone was in danger of any sort,” Vettel said.

Still, the bus driver, who authorities didn’t identify, was taken to a local hospital.

Roger Peterson, route manager for Valley Bus, said his firm learned of the incident about 9 a.m.

He confirmed the driver was taken from the park by ambulance, but said little information was available.

“It could be a personal matter. I don’t have any more information about that. … It could be nothing, it could be very serious,” Peterson said.

“Because of the nature of the call, the driver has been pulled off his route” until the incident is checked out, he said.

Peterson said another driver took over the field trip and the removed driver’s other duties until he’s declared fit for work again.

“The welfare of everyone was first and foremost,” Peterson said.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the incident.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583