LETTS, Iowa — Three Burlington residents died Thursday morning after the vehicle they were in collided with a school bus in Louisa County.

According to the Iowa State Patrol, a 2005 Nissan Sentra was traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 61, south of Louisa-Muscatine High School, when it lost control on the icy road at around 7:20 a.m. The car crossed the center line and collided head-on with a southbound school bus owned by the L-M School District.

Katherine Newton, 78, Barbara Higgs, 75, and Mark Kaltefleiter, 50, died as a result of the crash.

There were no students on the bus at the time but the driver of the bus, Seth Singleton, 35, of Wapello, was taken to Trinity Muscatine hospital with unspecified injuries.

Louisa-Muscatine Schools superintendent Mike Van Sickle said he was relieved when he learned there were no students or staff involved in the collision, but his thoughts were with the bus driver and the people involved in the accident.

Van Sickle said the bus was enroute to pick up students and he’d been relaying that information to people calling the school to learn more about the accident.

Though he didn’t have a lot of details about the accident, he was able give parents the news they were hoping to hear.

“At least I knew there weren’t any students or staff involved,” he said.

A Louisa County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher said the Iowa State Patrol, Louisa County Sheriff’s Office, Letts Ambulance, Columbus Junction Police Department and Grandview Fire Department were dispatched to the scene.


EARLIER STORY

Cynthia Beaudette, Muscatine Journal and Times online staff at 10:58 a.m.

Three people are dead in a crash this morning between a car and school bus near Louisa-Muscatine High School.

According to an accident report from the Iowa State Patrol, a 2005 Nissan Sentra was traveling north on U.S. 61 south of Muscatine when the driver lost control on the ice-covered road, crossed the center line and collided with a southbound school bus.

There were no students on the bus at the time.

All three adults in the car died in the crash. The bus driver was taken to Trinity Hospital in Muscatine with unknown injuries.

The names of the victims are not being released pending notification of the families.

More details to follow.


EARLIER STORY: LETTS, Iowa — On one hand, Louisa-Muscatine Schools superintendent Mike Van Sickle was relieved Thursday morning, when he learned there were no students or staff involved in a 7:20 a.m. collision between a school bus and vehicle approximately a half mile from the school on U.S. 61.

But his thoughts were with the bus driver of the bus and whoever may have been in the vehicle.

Van Sickle said he was contacted in reference to a 9-1-1 call when the accident occurred, and was told the bus was enroute to pick up students. At 9:45 a.m., Van Sickle said he’d been relaying that information to people calling the school to learn more about the accident.

“At least I knew there weren’t any students or staff involved,” he said.

Van Sickle said he was told the rest of the information would be released later by area law-enforcement officials who attended the accident.

Law-enforcement officials had blocked off a portion of the road surrounding the accident.

At 9:55 a.m., the vehicles involved were being towed away and law-enforcement continued rerouting traffic away from the accident scene.

A Louisa County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher said the Iowa State Patrol, Louisa County Sheriff’s Office, Letts Ambulance, Columbus Junction Police Department and Grandview Fire Department were dispatched to the scene.

A dispatcher with the Iowa State Patrol said she hadn’t received any information concerning injuries or fatalities at 9:45 a.m.

While no one would officially confirm or deny it, both an Iowa State Patrol officer and a photographer on the scene reported that there were possible fatalities.

Officials at the Louisa County Sheriffs Office said a press release will be issued concerning the accident later today.

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