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Posted on Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 9:54 a.m.

Skyline High School bus tips over after sliding on icy road

By Cindy Heflin

A Skyline High School bus slid on an icy road this morning and tipped over on its side with eight students on board, the Ann Arbor school’s principal said in an email message to parents. No one was injured.

Bus No. 119 was traveling south on an unpaved portion of Maple Road south of Stein Road on the north side of Ann Arbor when it lost traction and slid, landing on its side, school officials said.

Supervisors responded and stayed with students until another bus arrived to take the students to school, Skyline High School Principal Sulura Jackson wrote in an email to parents this morning. That bus arrived at the school about 9 a.m., and the students were met by administrators and the school nurse, as well as other support personnel, Jackson wrote.

Although students did not appear injured, they were told to report any concerns to a counselor or administrator right away.

Ann Arbor Public Schools spokeswoman Liz Margolis said a few other buses had difficulty navigating outlying roads and some buses could not get to students' houses because of icy roads.

Bus 119 makes the following stops:

  • Whitmore Lake at DhuVarren
  • Warren at Gleaner Hall
  • St. Patricks Church at Northfield Church
  • N Maple at Starak Lane
  • N Maple at Riverbend


Ann English

Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 11:38 p.m.

Most likely, school buses stayed off Tubbs Road on Monday; past school bus drivers were told years ago to stay off of it and the students living on it got picked up at Stein and Tubbs; turning sharply to the right with the Huron River straight in front of you (where there used to be a bridge over it) is something risky to do when Tubbs is icy, even with the guardrails there.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

Alas...this is why my district closed today.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

I live where I have to take 2 miles of unpaved roads to get to a paved one. Those roads, especially with the snow, ice, thawing, and refreezing are treacherous. Throw in some rain on top, it's like a zamboni passed over them. We've had buses from our local school district come down a hill and get stuck in the ditch on occassion out here as well. I'm glad everybody is okay.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

They waited until 9 am for another bus to arrive? That seems like a really long time, since the high school buses run very early, so that the students get to school before the first bell, which at Skyline is at 7:45 am.

European Flavour

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

First, they had to wait for the county truck to arrive to make the road safe for another bus to get to them.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 7:07 p.m.

I may be wrong, but the buses wouldn't stop at 7:45 AM. Wouldn't they have elementary runs to do? They also likely would have had to put another bus in service to cover the tipped (sorry if that's insensitive) bus' elementary run. It's unfortunate that they had to wait until 9, but not entirely surprising.

say it plain

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 6:04 p.m.

Yes, that does indeed! Another symptom of the cuts in bussing we've made really...there aren't extras sitting around, the system can't be as responsive, etc. Can it?!

Ron Granger

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

"Probably the only answer is good old sand for traction." There is always slowing down. And sometimes it means slowing down to a crawl.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

I don't believe slowing down would help a bus on a hill on an ice rink with the center of the road crowned as it is and the ditches on each side. Drive out there and check it out.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 6:23 p.m.

@ron granger I live just south of this stretch of road. It is an area with *very* steep inclines and declines. Since I don't actually have to drive this particular stretch regularly, I can't be sure about the exact conditions today. However, I know from past experience that dirt roads that are covered with packed-down ice/snow are pretty much ice rinks...trying to safely maneuver a bus while on a *steep, icy* hill isn't always something that is within your control. Given the road conditions (posted by @aareader), the shape of the road and the lack of curbs, and the fact that everyone seems to be OK, my own guess is that the bus *was* going very slowly and literally "slid" sideways into the ditch. I agree with @aareader: please give the driver a break.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

We live in this area. My son was on this bus. We have spoken to him, and he is ok. I hope all the other kids (and the driver) are ok as reported. My ride in this morning was treacherous. The dirt roads were like ice rinks, so I am not surprised to hear that a school bus ran off the road (and turned over! how frightening.) So my point is, give the driver a break. Just curious, you are right about the crown, and there are now deep ditches along parts of the road. I am afraid of sliding into one of these ditches, and turning over, or at least needing a tow truck to get out. Also, if there is a lot of rain, these can fill up to the level of the road, and drivers unfamiliar with the area won't realize that these are ditches, and will drive right into them. Drive safe everyone!


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 3:31 p.m.

I'm happy to hear they all made it out of it OK. Although School buses are always trying to reach their schedule and so they tend to hit the gas real hard. The same from when I took the bus as a kid.

Left is Right

Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 4:23 a.m.

Coming down that hill on Maple, I don't think the bus driver had any reason to hit the gas. Could be hard to slow to a reasonable speed on an icy road.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 6 p.m.

Swimmer thanks for the concern, but don't worry about me, I'm never late for work, a little something I learned from the school bus driver 35 years ago. And its really not that much of a driving feat to go around the block. Just 1 right turn, 2 left turns and a 1 more right turn and I'm ahead of the bus and on my 2way. I can even still see the bus waiting with its light on in my rearview mirror, I know that sounds like a big deal but its not.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

Swimmer, you changed my mind about the "waiting bus" situation. Why didn't I think of those circumstances? Thanks.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 5:06 p.m.

cinnabar, school buses sometimes arrive early at bus stops, as schedules allow a few minutes here and there for road delays. In those cases, the bus must wait until its scheduled time to leave. It not surprising that some children are not quite ready when the bus arrives early. A bus driver also once told all the kids "If I see you coming towards the bus stop, I will wait for you, please walk don't run, I would rather be a few seconds late than you fall and break something". We need more people like that. Perhaps you could consider leaving a few minutes earlier in the morning so you don't feel so hassled when you get stuck behind a bus? It seems to me that if one is in such a frame of mind where going several blocks out of your way to avoid a slow schoolbus seems rational, one might not be in the best frame of mind to be behind the wheel at all. Of course, you may be a more accomplished driver than I. ------- I would have been terrified to be on that bus, I hope the children and driver are well cared for when the realization of their close call hits them later today. I hope all their teachers have been informed who was involved so they can watch them for symptoms of shock.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

The ones that run in my area couldn't move slower, I cringe when one ends up in front of me, in fact I will go blocks out of my way to get my them. What I do find weird is how long they will wait for a child who is not ready, when I was a kid if you were not standing at the bus stop and I do mean AT the bus stop, they didn't wait.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

This is not surprising on this "repaired" section of Maple Rd. It seems to have an exaggerated "crown" now in order to promote drainage, I assume. Also, as a commenter recently said, the gravel roads become treacherous in weather conditions like we have had recently. Probably the only answer is good old sand for traction. There used to be barrels of sand placed near country road hills. They may have been placed there by citizens, I'm not sure.

Left is Right

Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 4:20 a.m.

It's spooky even without ice. Giant holes, ruts, I don't think the further macadamization has improved things.

say it plain

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 6:08 p.m.

I agree with @Tesla...those are scary tricky roads, and the 'improvements' sound like an extra nightmare, yikes. I have a hard enough time with the "improved" lighting on Plymouth lol, wherein the LED lamps seem to light only a tiny square of pavement, yet still create nasty glare in your eyes each time you approach one. They've got to treat any roads out there used by school buses if they don't want to this to happen more often!


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

Or East Delhi whatever its called north of Huron River. You really need to be on your toes when you travel those roads.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

Kinda like North Delhi. Yikkkkes! lol


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 5:10 p.m.

Right on. Doesn't surprise me either. Thats a pretty spooky section of roadway that Maple north of the river. Eeeeks!