Gillette School Bus Driver Loses Consciousness, Plows Into Fence With 17 Kids Onboard

A school bus driver from Gillette had a sudden medical event, lost consciousness and drove through a ditch and barbed-wire fence, stopping when the bus high-centered on a hillside. There were 17 elementary school kids on the bus.

Clair McFarland

November 02, 20232 min read

Campbell County School District bus 11 2 23

No one was hurt Wednesday when a bus driver hauling 17 kids had a medical event and crashed through a fence. 

The 17 students in the bus were in the elementary school grades, Campbell County Undersheriff Quentin Reynolds told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday.  

The driver, a 49-year-old male, was driving north on Cook Road approaching Echeta Road when he lost consciousness, hit a berm, went into a drainage ditch, knocked down 30 yards of barbed-wire fence and high-centered the bus on a hillside.  

“The driver had a medical emergency,” Reynolds said.  

In talking with investigators later, the driver reportedly remembered making the last bus stop on his line to pick up a child and looking down to see that he was within the 45-mile speed limit — then his memory fell away.  

After the crash, the driver was more concerned about the students than himself, Reynolds related from the incident report.  

Emergency medical personnel arrived on scene and took the man to care. The responders also checked out all 17 students for injuries and cleared them, said Reynolds.  

A second bus arrived, gathered the children and took them to school.  

“The deputies I spoke to yesterday afternoon (indicated the students) didn’t seem to be distraught or upset or anything like that,” Reynolds said.  

Still, the bus’s timely halt and the lack of injuries were “extremely lucky,” the undersheriff added.  

Campbell County School District Associate Superintendent Dave Bartlett said the district notified parents of the incident and gave students the option to go home for the day if they wished. Counselors were available to them as well, Bartlett said.

Bartlett said he could not divulge much about individualized handling of personnel, but as for the bus driver, "If he's healthy and clear he'll be back - time will tell."

The administrator was impressed with a "good Samaritan" who was first on scene and helped out, he said.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter