Teen driver hurt after rear-ending school bus in Helena Township - KMSP-TV

Teen driver hurt in Helena Township school bus crash

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Officials say a teen driver was injured after she slammed her car into the back of a bus that was carrying nearly 30 kids at West 260th Street and Redwing Avenue.

From the air, a four-door sedan could be seen wedged underneath the back of the school bus.

No injuries were reported aboard the bus, and the teen is expected to recover. Authorities say that's all thanks to the bus driver whose quick thinking let everyone walk away.

"I just kind of froze," said Megan Pavek, who was one of 29 students on the bus. "I didn't know what to do at all."

Pavek was standing next to the bus driver Larry Kotek and was getting ready to step off at her stop when Kotek saw the car coming over the hill in his rearview mirror.

"He's kind of like a jokester sometimes, and he yelled, 'There's a car coming!,'" recalled Pavek. "I didn't take it seriously for some reason."

Pavek said Kotek started moving the bus again. Soon after, she felt the impact -- but said it wasn't as bad as she expected. Nevertheless, the students on the bus were rattled.

Police say the driver of the car -- a junior in high school -- never even touched her brakes before slamming into the bus. That means that if Kotek hadn't hit the gas to cushion the blow, both the teen driver -- and Pavek -- may have been killed in the crash.

"It's crazy. I don't even know what to say to him tomorrow," Pavek admitted. "I owe him so much."

Kotek has been driving buses in New Prague for 23 years, and his supervisor told FOX 9 News he did exactly what he's been trained to do.

According to police, the driver of the car was conscious after the crash, but does not remember it. So far, there's no word on why she didn't stop, but officers said her cell hone was in her back pocket the entire time she was behind the wheel.

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