At Least 1 Dead, Dozens Injured in Minn. Bus Crash Involving Band Students

One student died and dozens were injured Saturday morning when a bus carrying Minnesota high school students home from a band trip to Chicago rolled onto its side and skidded into a ditch along Interstate 94.

The bus was one of two carrying students from Pelican Rapids High School, according to the western Minnesota school's Web site. The bus was traveling west when it flipped over around 5:48 a.m., according to State Patrol dispatcher Tom Aspling. He said 47 people were aboard the bus.

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The cause of the crash was not immediately determined.

According to WCCO Radio, an official with Allina Medical Transportation confirmed that one person died. A spokesman for the service did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press.

The crash happened east of the Albertville Mall near the intersection of I-94 and Wright County Road 37, the State Patrol said. Albertville is about 30 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

According to several hospital spokespersons, the students and their chaperones were taken to hospitals in Coon Rapids, Buffalo, Monticello and Robbinsdale.

Nineteen people were taken to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, where a girl was in critical condition. Nine students were treated and released at Buffalo Hospital. Seventeen people were taken to Monticello-Big Lake Hospital; 12 were treated and released, three remained at the hospital and two others were transferred, including one in critical condition.

A spokeswoman for North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale said three students and one adult were transferred there for treatment.

The students on the second bus were unhurt and taken to a Catholic church in Albertville, according to the school's Web site.

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

A community prayer service is planned for Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Pelican Rapids Ministerium and a student assembly will be held at the start of the school day on Monday in the auditorium, the Web site says.