CUMBERLAND, Wis. (WCCO) — A western Wisconsin community is dealing with a tragic crash that left two people dead.
A bus carrying a high school volleyball team collided with a car Saturday afternooon, killing two people in the car — 3-year-old Elenora Hutton, and her mother, Tiffany Hostetler of Rice Lake.
Sixteen others were hurt in the crash, which happened just north of Cumberland.
Chief Barry Kuenkel was among 20 Cumberland firefighters who responded to the crash that day.
“We first rolled up and I thought, ‘Oh my,” Kuenkel said.
Wisconsin State Patrol says it appears a woman ran a stop sign at the intersection of Highway 63 and County Road B just north of town, hitting a school bus full of teens from Spooner High School.
First responders arrived at the scene and did what they do best, tending to the needs of all the people who were hurt. The teammates, coach and bus driver crawled out of the back of the bus, escaping with only minor injuries.
But everyone, including the first responders, left with the types of scars no one can see.
“Being a small-town, rural fire department, we do not have that much exposure to that type of thing,” Kuenkel said. “So when it does happen, especially one of this magnitude, it does affect us.”
Firefighters saw that the driver of the car and her 3-year-old daughter had died on the scene. The other passenger, her 5-year-old son, was rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Chief Kuenkel says it’s been a particularly tragic year for his firefighters.
“It just seems like this year, everything’s been more severe than what it was in the past,” he said.
Kuenkel says he’s called in a grief counseling coach to work with all 32 volunteer firefighters Monday morning.
“We care for our folks afterwards so we can keep on doing what we’re doing,” he said.
Spooner’s volleyball coach says her team is grieving and their hearts break for the family of those who died.
If you would like to contribute to the fund for Marshall Hutton — the 5-year-old boy who was seriously injured in the crash and remains hospitalized — you can do so on the family’s YouCaring page.