Bigfork man dies after crashing into school bus

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
Daily Inter Lake | October 7, 2020 2:00 AM

A Bigfork man died Thursday, Oct. 1 after the vehicle he was driving slammed into the back of a school bus on U.S. 93 south of Whitefish in front of the Hillside Church. The driver was identified as Theron Jensen, 48, according to a release issued by the Flathead County Sheriff's Office on Oct. 2.

According to Montana Highway Patrol Trooper James Hawkins, the school bus was stopped in the far right northbound lane because a southbound school bus was stopped on the other side of the highway to pick up school children.

The bus that was involved in the accident had already dropped off students attending Glacier High School. The driver of the bus was checked out by emergency medical technicians and appeared to be OK.

“We can’t stress enough, drivers need to stop in all lanes for a stopped school bus,” Trooper Hawkins said.

He believed the driver of the white Ford Bronco with blue trim wasn’t paying attention when it hit the bus. The vehicle had Montana plates with permanent tags.

Speed or alcohol are not believed to be factors in the crash.

Trooper Hawkins said the man in the Bronco was wearing his seat belt and was awake and alert when first responders arrived.

Emergency medical responders had to extricate Jensen from the vehicle, after which he was transported to Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

In addition to troopers from Montana Highway Patrol, the Whitefish Fire Department, Whitefish Police Department and U.S. Border Patrol responded to the wreck.

Scott Shindledecker may be reached at 758-4441 or shindledecker@dailyinterlake.com.