Maintenance Issue Causes Bus To Stop On Tracks

After a Whitko bus sustained a mechanical failure on the railroad tracks Saturday, calm heads prevailed and the Whitko band students got to competition.

At about 1:40 p.m. Saturday, a Whitko School Corporation bus was taking the Whitko Marching Pride members to Bluffton High School for a competition, according to the Whitko School Corporation Facebook page on Saturday. The bus sustained a mechanical brake failure as it was crossing the railroad tracks on Ind. 116, west of Bluffton.

The bus driver, Edith Johnson, following emergency evacuation protocols, immediately had the students and staff members get off the bus, the post states. Local law enforcement and Norfolk Southern railroad officials were notified of the situation and the trains on that track were stopped.

Band leader John VanPatten contacted Bluffton school officials and they provided a bus to take the Whitko band students to the competition. A wrecker was called to remove the bus from the tracks. A spare Whitko bus was delivered to Bluffton and Johnson rejoined the marching band.

The Whitko Facebook post states, “A big shout out to Edith Johnson for her professionalism and remaining calm in a stressful situation; to Mr. VanPatten for the quick thinking to get students to the competition; to Bluffon Harrison MSD for providing our students transportation on their bus; and to the Whitko transportation personnel for dropping what they were doing and getting to Bluffton in record time.”